Classic Decorated Sugar Cookies

This post is dedicated to my mom, who, all throughout my life I begged to make her beautiful, delicious frosted sugar cookies each Christmas. They are one of the things I look forward to most each year – they’re always so bright and so prettily decorated. But, up until I tried tackling them myself a couple years ago, I never realized just how much work she put into them. Mom, I'm sorry for unknowingly giving you so much added stress every Christmas. I owe you one (or, like, 90 dozen at this point).

Baking the cookies is simple – make the dough, roll it out, cut out your shapes, bake and let cool. It’s the coloring of the frosting and the decorating that takes time…. Time as in hours…. Or days. For real. It may take a toll on your back and your hands (I’m convinced piping frosting on cookies is the best hand-strengthening workout there is), but in the end I promise it’s actually a fun, creative process.

This will be my first year ever not being home at Christmas, not grabbing one of my favorite cookies to gobble each time I pass through the kitchen. So, in lieu of my mom’s cookies, I thought I’d make my own.
Now, I’m far lazier than my mom, so I made only about two dozen (probably a third of what my mom makes each year), and mine are actually far less intricate than hers… but I still had a fantastic time frosting while singing along to Christmas records in the kitchen. If this doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, nothing will.

This year, I made four different festive shapes.

They all turned out fairly well, but I think I liked my snowmen the best.

When I reached the end of my decorating, I still had the tiniest bit yellow frosting left. I hate the idea of wasting anything so scrumptious and sugary as thick frosting, so I asked Eric what he thought I should do with it. 
This was his idea:
That's right. A snowman that's been peed on. This is the man I've chosen to live with, everyone.

(Actually, don't tell him this, but this little fella, no matter how off-color he may be, might just be my favorite cookie of the year.)

Now, I prefer my Christmas cut-out cookies on the softer side, which is the way my mom makes them. If you like a crispier, harder cookie, Martha Stewart has a great recipe here. But, with my mom's blessing, today I'll share her recipe with you.

Soft Sugar Cookies (Mom's recipe)
1 c. butter
2. c. sugar
t tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 c. milk 
at least 3 c. flour, probably more

Cream butter and sugar then add eggs and vanilla. Combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and add to creamed mixture. Alternate adding flour and milk; add enough flour to make stiff dough to roll out- probably more than three cups. Bake 6-8 min. at 400°.

½ c. butter
½ c. Crisco shortening
1 tsp. vanilla extract (you can use almond, too)
pinch of salt
4 c. powdered sugar

Mix together then use food coloring to portions as needed. Decorate to your heart's delight.

If you hurry, you have just enough time to make these just time time to put out for Santa (and don't forget Rudolph's carrots!)

What is your hands-down favorite Christmas cookie? If you don't have a favorite cookie, what's your favorite Christmas treat?


  1. Haha - a peed on snowman. Too funny. My favorite Christmas cookies are also made by mom. Her sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting. Can't get enough of them!

  2. We made these tonight and they are AWESOME. Next time I’m doubling it!


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