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3 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

Chocolate Thumbprints Cookies
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min. + cooling


1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
26 milk chocolate kisses


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until or until easy to handle.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; dip in egg white, then roll in nuts. Place on greased baking sheets.
  5. Using a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in center of each cookie. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until center is set.
  6. For filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk and vanilla; stir until smooth.
  7. Spoon or pipe 1/4 teaspoon into each warm cookie; gently press a chocolate kiss in the center. Carefully remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 45 min


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


  1. For the lemon and cranberry shortbread dough: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil (with a 2-inch overhang on all four sides) and grease the bottom and sides with butter.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium-low until incorporated. Mix in the cranberries and lemon zest.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until slightly brown, about 25 minutes.
  5. For the filling: While the shortbread is baking, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  6. Pour the filling over the baked crust and continue baking until the filling sets and is slightly brown on the edges, about 20 minutes
  7. Let cool completely in the pan. Use the foil edges to help lift the bar out of the baking pan. Cut into 24 squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Perfect Frosted Sugar Cookies
Cook time 2 hours 30 mins
Total time 2 hours 30 mins


For the Cookies
1½ cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla, almond, peppermint, or coconut extract (recommended: Nielsen-Massey)
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tbsp. milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla, almond, peppermint, or coconut extract
Food coloring


  1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (like this one), cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and extract until well-combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together remainder of cookie ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet in batches until combined.
  3. Divide dough into quarters, form into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. Removed one disc from fridge and roll out on floured surface until dough is ⅛”-1/4″ thick.
  6. Cut with cookie cutter and baked on an ungreased cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes, watching closely.
  7. Cookies are done when bottoms are just barely golden brown.
  8. Let cool completely on wire racks before frosting. Make sure cookie sheets are cool to touch before place more cookie dough on them.
  9. For frosting, combine sugar, two tablespoons milk, and honey, adding more milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  10. For piping and spreading, you’re looking for a thicker frosting (like cake frosting), for dipping cookies, you’ll want something a little bit thinner.
  11. Pipe, spread or dip onto cookies. Will dry to a soft frosting with a glossy coating. If you’d like to use sprinkles, apply them before the frosting dries.

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