Soft sugar cookies topped with sweet icing for a cute and festive cookie that can be decorated to your liking. These Christmas sugar cookies are the perfect addition to any holiday baking list!
With Christmas coming up, it's the perfect time to bake and decorate cookies for your loved ones or as a fun weekend baking project with your kids! With a simple sugar cookie dough, cookie cutters and some icing you can create an endless number of shapes and designs.
For these Christmas sugar cookies, I've chosen two different cookie shapes, gingerbread men and Christmas trees. When it comes to Christmas cookies these are probably the most commonly used cookie cutter shapes and can be decorated in so many different ways. I've decorated mine in a fun and easy way with just icing and some mini m&m's, but feel free to change up the designs using sprinkles and different colours.
How cut the perfect cookie shape
Forming cookies is pretty simple, however, there are a couple of tips that can help you create perfect cookies every time without the wobbly edges and sticky mess.
Roll your cookie dough out between two sheets of baking paper
Rolling your dough between two sheets of baking paper prevents the dough from sticking to your work surface and rolling pin as your roll it out. It also helps gives the cookie dough a smooth finish so that the surface of your cookies are even, flat and smooth.
Chill the rolled out dough
It is important to chill the dough as it makes the dough a lot easier to handle. At room temperature the dough will be soft and sticky, but after chilling it should be firm enough to hold. Chilling the dough also prevents the dough from spreading too much when baked, allowing the cookies to keep their defined features.
Peeling the baking paper before cutting
Make sure you peel the baking paper off both sides of the cookie dough before cutting out shapes, otherwise the cut out shapes will stick to the baking paper and make it difficult to transfer to the baking tray.
As the dough has a lot of butter it will soften up at room temperature pretty quickly. Working fast will keep the cookie dough firm as you cut out the shpaes and prevent the dough from smearing and tearing.
Give the cookies space
When placing the cookies on your baking tray make sure there is enough space in between so that the cookies can expand. The cookie dough has baking powder to help give it a softer texture, however this also means that the cookies will grow. If the cookies are placed too close to each other they will join as they bake so leave at least 1 inch between each cookie.
How to ice cookies perfectly
Royal icing is so easy to make, but it can be finicky at times. Getting the right amount of moisture and icing sugar in the icing is the most important part. If there is too much liquid, the icing will run off the cookies when iced, and if there is too much icing sugar the icing will be too thick to spread into an even layer when piped on top of the cookie.
When you let the icing fall off the spoon back into the bowl it should fall in ribbons that disappear back into the icing after 30-40 seconds.
If your ribbons disappear into the icing straight away the icing is too runny. However, if the ribbons don't disappear at all the icing is too thick.
If the icing is too runny add a tablespoon of icing sugar at a time, mixing in between each addition until the right consistency has been reached.
If the icing is too thick add a couple of drops of lemon juice or water at a time, mixing in between each addition until the right consistency is reached. While a couple of drops of liquid might not seem like a lot, the icing is quite sensitive and a few too many drops can take it from very thick to watery. Make sure you work with small amounts of liquid and keep checking the consistency as you go.
These sugar cookies are as basic as they're gonna get. I'm sure you have everything you need in your pantry!
- Unsalted butter: Make sure the butter is at room temperature so that it can cream with the sugar. I would recommend using unsalted butter over salted, however salted butter will also work in a pinch
- Caster sugar: Both granulated sugar and caster sugar will work, but caster sugar is the best option as the granules are smaller. This will give the cookies an even distribution of sugar while keeping the surface smooth
- Large egg: The egg helps bind all the ingredients together, without it the cookie would be closer to a shortbread
- All-purpose flour: Flour is the foundation to the cookie and makes up the structure
- Baking powder: Baking powder gives the cookies a little bit of rise, preventing it from baking up as a rock hard cookie, and giving it a soft texture.
- Egg white: I use fresh egg whites for the frosting, however if you are concerned about the health and safety of fresh eggs feel free to use egg white powder mixed with water as a replacement. You can also heat the egg whites and sugar over a hot water bath to kill any bacteria. If you use farm fresh eggs there shouldn't be any issues with safety though!
- Icing sugar: Icing sugar or powdered sugar makes up the majority of the icing. There's no need to sieve it as you will be beating it with the egg white.
- Food colouring: My colouring of choice is gel or powder as they don't add too much extra moisture to the icing. Try and refrain from using liquid food colours as this can mess with the icing consistency.
Let's get baking`
Christmas is just around the corner and if there's one thing to add to your holiday baking list these Christmas sugar cookies are the one!
If you make this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to hear how it went.
Also don't forget to tag me on instagram @catherine.justdessertsau and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts!Print
Christmas Sugar Cookies
- 250g Unsalted butter, room temperature (1 cup 2 tsp)
- 200g Caster sugar (1 cup)
- 1 Large egg, room temperature
- 360g All-purpose flour (3 cups)
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 Large egg white
- 200g Icing sugar (200g)
- Green, brown and pink food colouring
- Mini m&ms
- Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until lightened and smooth
- Add the baking powder and whisk until well combined
- Add the egg and flour, and mix until just combined
- Using your hands knead the dough into a ball
- Place the ball between two sheets of baking paper and roll the dough out to a large rectangle
- Place on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown (the bake time will depend on the size of your cookies, if you are making smaller cookies it will be closer to 10 minutes and if they are larger they could take up to 15 mins or longer)
- Remove from the oven and cool completely
- Combine the icing sugar and egg white in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk until smooth and shiny
- Remove half and colour it green, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip
- Divide the remaining icing in half and colour half brown, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a fine round tip (this is needed to pipe the face on the gingerbread men, and the lights on the christmas trees)
- Remove a small portion of the white icing and colour it pink, place in a small piping bag fitted with a small round tip
- Transfer the remaining white icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip
- To make the Christmas trees: Pipe a green tree shape following the edges of the cookie and allow to dry for 1 hour. Once slightly dry use the brown icing to pipe a tree stump and lights on the tree. Then press in some mini m&ms, edge side down, to create the light bulbs.
- To make the gingerbread men: Using the white icing pipe wiggly lines on the arms and legs. Then create the buttons by piping three dots down the centre and pressing three mini m&ms into the icing. Finish it off with a smiley face and two dots of pink for blush.