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Classic Holiday Cookies

Prep Time:

1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Cook Time:

6-8 Minutes


2-3 Dozen

About the Recipe

Is there anything that signifies the holiday season more than beautifully decorated holiday cookies? These are crisp, buttery, lightly sweetened, and with a hint of vanilla (or any flavoring you decide to use). They're easy to work with and bake up quickly, so you can get right to decorating with the fam.



3/4 cup (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Egg-free Royal Icing:

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tsp. corn syrup

2 Tbs. water, plus more as needed

Pinch of Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla, lemon, peppermint or almond extract*


  1. Beat to combine butter and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; mix to combine.

  2. Add flour, baking powder and salt, and beat until a smooth dough starts to form. Don't overwork it.

  3. Pour dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and flatten to a 1/2" thick disk. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

  4. Lightly flour countertop and roll dough until no more than 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes and transfer to parchment lined baking sheets, spacing at least 1" apart. Refrigerate cutouts for 30 minutes (if space is an issue, stack onto one tray or plate with parchment in between layers).

  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake chilled cookies for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden on the edges. (A touch of golden brown color = ideal crispness).

  6. Transfer to cooling rack; cool completely before decorating to avoid what we call in our house "a messy mess".

  7. For royal icing: Whisk to combine confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, 2 Tbs. water, salt and extract. Consistency should be smooth but thick. Use this consistency for piping borders and detailed decorations onto your cooled cookies. For flooding the centers of cookies, whisk 1/4 tsp. water into the icing at a time until pourable.

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