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Family Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Family Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

As a member of the third generation of my family to use this recipe, I can definitely say it is -Santa- approved.


       Since I can remember, my nana would make Christmas cookies for me and my relatives to decorate every Christmas season. Eventually my mom started making them for my friends and I to decorate for Santa around Christmas Eve each year. With the simplest 2-ingredient icing, its easy to whip up several different colors to decorate at home or for a party. You can make these Rich Roll cookies year round for any event or holiday, but this recipe, originally from a 1930s edition of Joy of Cooking, is perfect for last minute festivities with family or easy neighbor gifts.


  • 1 Cup unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 2 1/3 cups of All Purpose flour and then some

**If you don't think about the ingredients, these cookies taste like they have negative calories. With enough Christmas magic, you too may even lose New Year resolution weight by consuming half a roll of this dough. 



  • Start by blending the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy and well blended.

  • Next, add the egg, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Finally, incorporate the flour and blend until smooth.

  • You can divide the dough in half and tightly wrap in wax paper. Place this in the fridge for at least half an hour or overnight to chill. The dough should be cold and firm. *Remove about 10 minutes prior to rolling if the dough is too hard.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  • When ready to make the cookies, take out 2 pieces of wax paper. Rub some flour on the bottom layer to avoid sticking, lay one half of the dough on top and sprinkle some flour on top. Place the second piece of wax paper over the dough and roll it until the dough is about 1/4 in. thick. Use cookie cutters to create your favorite shapes!

  • Spray your cookie sheet to avoid sticking and bake for 7-10 minutes.

  • Once done, remove from oven and leave to cool. Cookies should be cooled completely before icing.


  • Powdered Sugar

  • Milk or Milk Substitute

  • Optional: Food coloring

With this icing, the consistency is whatever you want it to be! You want to make sure to sift the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl and add spoonfuls of milk, stirring throughout, until you reach the thickness you want. With this icing, a TINY bit goes a long way. Add food coloring to create any festive colors. You can decorate your cookies with piping bags or plasticware. Add fun sprinkles before the icing sets and you've got yourself some amazing cookies that nobody can turn away (even yourself).


So that's it! My mom and I threw these together to go along with some Cranberry Orange bread for our neighbors. As these aren't a secret family recipe, I thought it would be great to share something my family loves so much with others. Since I can't personally make cookies for every person I know, make them others (but mostly yourselves) and think fondly of me. Merry Christmas!


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