Cookies for Santa

by Dec 24, 2008


My mom hooked me on this recipe for sugar cookies when I was a girl. I’ve tried many others over the years, but this one is perfect. Buttery, almond-extracty, tender and lots of fun to cut out and decorate. I hope Santa likes his assortment tonight! (Adapted from “Mary’s Sugar Cookies”, Betty Crocker cookbook.)

Sugar Cookies
makes 4 dozen cookies 

1 cup unsalted organic butter, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cage free egg
2 ½ cups unbleached, organic wheat flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Icing (optional):
1 ½ cups organic powdered sugar
2 – 3 tablespoons organic cream or milk
2 teaspoons melted organic unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1. Cream butter and powdered sugar in the workbowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Add salt and mix. Add egg and vanilla and almond exract and mix. In a separate bowl, whisk flour with the cream of tartar and baking soda. Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and mix to combine.
2. Lay 3 sheets of plastic wrap (about 20 inches each) on a cool work surface (marble or granite cutting board or countertop is ideal) and mound 1/3 of the dough on each of the plastic pieces. Pat each mound of dough into a disk and wrap with the plastic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheet pans each with a Silpat or piece of baking parchment. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap and place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Let dough warm slightly (about 10 – 15 minutes at room temperature), then roll dough to about ¼ inch thickness using a floured rolling pin. Cut out cookies and transfer cookies to cookie sheet pan (I like to use a bench scraper to do this) and bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooking racks to cool completely. Gather dough scraps, wrap in plastic and re-chill. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with the remaining dough.
4. Icing. Whisk powdered sugar with the cream (or milk), melted butter and almond extract until you have a smooth, thin icing, adding more milk as necessary. To decorate the cookies, make sure they are cool, then spread a thin layer of icing over each cookie and decorate with sprinkles.Kitchen Coach Tips


  • Dough disks like these keep great in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days, and in the freezer for few months.
  • The tastiest cookies will come from the first one or two rolls of your dough. If you gather and re-roll the scraps more than 2 or 3 times, your cookies will be tough. (If you are baking with children, hand over the scraps for some fragrant play dough!)

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