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Traditional Christmas Butter Cookies

Updated on February 14, 2019

A Family Christmas Cookie Tradition

A funny thing about food and holidays is how they are very nostalgic. Eating a family favorite traditional holiday treat can take you back to warm childhood memories.

Christmas baking time brings with it a flood of memories of decorating cookies with my grandmother. And when I take that first bite of my favorite cookie it is almost as though I am a little girl again.

Photos on this article are my own unless otherwise credited.

Sugar cookies with sprinkles are a traditional holiday treat.

Sugar cookies are a traditional Christmas treat.
Sugar cookies are a traditional Christmas treat. | Source


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted powder sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Christmas snowflake shape cookies.
Christmas snowflake shape cookies. | Source


  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F
  2. Cream butter using a pastry cutter and add in the powdered sugar gradually. Continue to cream the butter and powder sugar together until it is fluffy. (As an alternate method, you can cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer.)
  3. Add in beaten egg and vanilla and blend together.
  4. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and then blend into the creamed mixture.
  5. Divide the dough in half, place in a bowl in the fridge, covered, and chill. (I usually chill an hour minumum.)
  6. Flour the rolling pin and rolling surface well. If a pastry cloth is used, it needs to be floured well. Take small sections of the dough and roll out to 1/8" thick. Dip a cookie cutter with the cutting edge into flour and then use to cut the cookie shape from the dough.
  7. Place cut out cookies on cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes at 400 deg. F. Cool on bakers rack.
  8. Makes about 6 dozen medium sized cut cookies.

The frosting recipe is just a little further down the page.

You can see each individual cookie baking step here.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cookie ingredientsBeat egg and vanillaYou can use a hand creamer or electric mixer. Cream together butter, powdered sugar, beaten egg with vanilla.Blend in sifted dry ingredients.Divide and chill at least one hour.Flour your rolling surface well.Roll and cut cookies.Bake at 400 deg. F for 6 minutes and cool.Make frosting and decorate cookies.
Cookie ingredients
Cookie ingredients
Beat egg and vanilla
Beat egg and vanilla
You can use a hand creamer or electric mixer. Cream together butter, powdered sugar, beaten egg with vanilla.
You can use a hand creamer or electric mixer. Cream together butter, powdered sugar, beaten egg with vanilla.
Blend in sifted dry ingredients.
Blend in sifted dry ingredients.
Divide and chill at least one hour.
Divide and chill at least one hour.
Flour your rolling surface well.
Flour your rolling surface well.
Roll and cut cookies.
Roll and cut cookies.
Bake at 400 deg. F for 6 minutes and cool.
Bake at 400 deg. F for 6 minutes and cool.
Make frosting and decorate cookies.
Make frosting and decorate cookies.

Butter Frosting

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar together with a pastry cutter.
  2. Add in the vanilla and then the cream to the desired consistency. More or less cream can be added to get the desired thickness.
  3. (I had 4 tbsp of cream but I keep having to add, so I changed it to 1/4 c, you may even go up to 1/3 depending on the consistency. You want it thick enough to spread well and not too thin, unless you like just a thin coating. For adding candy to the cookie, a thicker frosting holds it on.)
  4. The mixture can be divided into bowls and food coloring added to color the frosting.
  5. Spread frosting onto completely cooled cookies.
  6. Top with candy sprinkles if desired.
  7. Do not wait to apply candy sprinkles because they need to be applied before the frosting is set.
  8. To set the frosting, place in the refrigerator for a short period of time and store in a sealed container.

Please give this cookie recipe a one to five star vote here.

Cast your vote for Butter Cookies

What if you don't like frosted cookies?

If you don't like to frost the cookies you can generously shake powdered sugar over them while they are still hot.

Be very generous, like a lot.

Kinda like a powdered sugar donut!

Book open to a page that offers Christmas Greetings.
Book open to a page that offers Christmas Greetings. | Source

For the Love of Cookbooks

I love our traditional family recipes, but I also like to try new recipes to go with them as well. My husband is a huge chocoholic so I try to find some great chocolate Christmas cookie recipes to experiment with.

I also love cookbooks. I have a whole bookshelf full of them and love to browse through them. Sometimes I get an inspiration from a book and other times I pick up a new one to search through.

I love looking at the photos and leafing through the books searching for ideas.

Cookie cutters come in so many wonderful shapes, styles, and sizes.
Cookie cutters come in so many wonderful shapes, styles, and sizes. | Source

I Love to Collect Cookie Cutters too!

I have a huge plastic tub of cookie cutters I have collected over the years. I find that I have my favorites that I tend to use over and over. But having a nice variety really helps when trying to find just the right shape for a special gift of cookies or special occasion.

You can make these cookies all year round, so don't think they are "just Christmas cookies".

Think what you could do with them for Valentine's day with a heart shaped cutter and candy topping.

You can decorate them for a birthday party, the ideas are endless.

Here is another way to use this cookie dough!

Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts.

Next, roll into small cookie sized balls in the palm of your hand.

Bake them as directed for the rolled cookies, test to see if done, it varies how long to cook by size.

Roll in powdered sugar while hot & you have Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies!

Beautiful and yummy cookies are welcome all year round!

Holidays, birthdays, special occasions

or just because.

Cookies seem to be an international word for yum.

Family Traditions

I believe that every family has a special cookie that is baked with a loved one. When I was a little girl my favourite cookies to bake with my Grandma were peanut butter.

I can still remember to this day helping her out with the loads of peanut butter cookies we would have to bake to keep all of us grandchildren happy, and was always accompanied by a cold glass of fresh milk from her very own cow.

Here is a great gift idea to go with those cookies!

You made these yummy cookies as a gift and now you need to put them in something.

Why not give a wonderful cookie jar along with the cookies? They can reuse the cookie jar for years to come.

You can give them a Christmas themed jar or something that they love to collect.

It's no secret that I love cats, but someone gave me a sheep cookie jar! LOL

© 2011 Coreena Jolene


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