Christmas Sugar Cookies
These Christmas sugar cookies decorated like snowmen are delicious to bite into, with a sugary sweet buttercream topping and a soft-to-bite-into sugar cookie texture. Snowman cookies are super simple to make yet totally adorable. They are the perfect cookie for a cookie swap or to leave out for Santa!
The exteriors of the cookies are light and crispy and the insides are perfectly soft. Plus, they roll out really nicely.
Jenny Keller is the author of the popular cookbooks Eat More Dessert and Cookie Class, and owner of the destination bakery Jenny Cookies Bake Shop in Washington state. She was kind enough to share her perfect sugar cookie recipe with us.
She uses this recipe for all of her amazing Christmas sugar cookies, like reindeer cookies, candy cane cookies, and more. Jenny details how to make all of these (plus cookies for other occasions) in her fabulous book!
Her snowman cookies are some of the easiest cut out cookies to make – even a beginner cookie decorator can succeed with them!
How to Make Christmas Sugar Cookies
In Cookie Class, Jenny shares some important tips to make her sugar cookies come out perfectly every time:
- Use room temperature butter. Using microwaved butter that is too warm will change the texture of the cookies.
- Beat the butter and sugar for two full minutes. This will incorporate a lot of air into the dough and help make the cookies light.
- Once you add the flour mixture to the dough, keep mixing to a minimum. The more time you spend mixing, the denser the cookies will be.
Jenny is also a stickler for using real butter and suggests using pure extracts when possible for the best flavors.
Once you make the dough, wrap it in plastic and press it down to form a one inch thick disk.
The dough needs to be refrigerated for ten minutes to make it easier to roll. But, the great thing is that you can store it in the fridge for up to seven days until you are ready to use it, or freeze it for up to a month!
Rolling the Dough
Jenny has some great tips for success in rolling out the sugar cookie dough:
- Before rolling the dough, run a wet paper towel over your work surface. Then, sprinkle flour on the surface. The moisture will keep the flour from moving around as you roll. So smart!
- Make sure that the dough stays chilled. If it starts to get warm, return it to the fridge to cool off for a few minutes before continuing. The cold dough will be easier to transfer to a cookie sheet and will hold its shape better during the bake.
Cutting Out the Snowman Cookies
These snowman cookies use simple round cookie cutters. If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, you could even use a glass!
Jenny recommends that you dip your cookie cutter in flour after every few cuts to keep the cutter from sticking to the dough.
Here are Jenny’s top tips for baking her famous sugar cookies:
- Line your baking sheets with parchment to avoid extra cleanup.
- Place the cut out cookie dough circles at least 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets to make sure that they don’t touch as they bake.
- Bake only one tray at a time unless you have a convection oven. Baking multiple trays at once can lead to uneven baking. And, always use the middle rack for the most even heat.
- Get to know your own oven. All ovens bake differently. Check the cookies around six minutes to see how they are doing. If they are done, they will look puffy. If you over-bake them, they will still be great but they will be crispier.
- When they are done, let them rest for two minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Buttercream Icing for Cut Out Cookies
Jenny uses an easy-to-make buttercream icing to decorate her cookies. Although, she laughs, she actually doesn’t use butter in the icing! She is all butter all of the time in her cookies, but for her icing she swears by margarine and Crisco.
She likes the margarine because it’s really light in color and spreads well and the Crisco because it forms a crust when it dries. The crust makes the cookies easier to stack and pack up.
She also highly recommends using clear vanilla extract. If you use regular vanilla extract, the snowman won’t be a pure white!
How to Decorate Snowman Cookies
Decorating a snowman is as easy as 1, 2, 3. You use three colors: white, black and orange (Jenny recommends AmeriColor).
You also use three different decorating tips:
- #1a – Use this fat round tip to cover the cookie in white. Pipe a large dollop onto the cookie to cover the entire surface. If your icing ends up shaped like a chocolate kiss, gently tap the cookie on the counter to encourage the icing to settle.
- #2 – Use this skinny round tip to make the snowman’s black eyes and smile.
- #3 – Use this round tip that is slightly wider than #2 for making the orange nose.
How to Store Christmas Sugar Cookies
This buttercream icing will form a crust in about six to eight hours. Once that happens, store the cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to four days or freeze for up to one month.
Never refrigerate sugar cookies or they will become soggy.
Other Christmas Cookie Ideas
The snowman cookies will get lonely if they are the only cookies you make. Make them some friends:
- ginger molasses cookies
- double chocolate chip cookies
- Pfeffernusse cookies (German peppernut cookies that also are decorated like snowmen!)
- Hedgehog cookies
Christmas Sugar Cookies
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups salted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Buttercream Icing Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
- 3 lbs confectioners’ sugar about 10 1/2 cups
- 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Snowman Decorating Ingredients
- 1 batch sugar cookies from above
- 1 batch buttercream icing from above
- black food coloring a few drops or until desired color is achieved
- orange food coloring a few drops or until desired color is achieved
- Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth or about 2 1/2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture approximately a quarter at a time, scraping the side of the bowl after each addition. The dough will form a ball around the paddle attachment and feel soft but not sticky.
- Wrap the dough ball in a piece of plastic wrap and press down to form a 1-inch thick disk. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or store for up to 7 days tightly wrapped.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness, using additional flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut out the dough with a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter and carefully transfer circles with a metal spatula to a nonstick baking sheet, placing the cookies about 3/4 inch apart.
- Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack about 7 to 8 minutes, until puffy. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the gathered scraps until all the dough has been used.
Buttercream Icing Directions
- Combine the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating on low speed for an additional 2 minutes or until the mixture is creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream, and beat until the frosting is creamy and fluffy (about 2 minutes more). Add any food coloring, if using, and beat on low speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds or until the color is incorporated.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.
Snowman Decorating Instructions
- Divide icing into three sections and mix in food coloring to dye it as follows: 1/2 cup black, 1/2 cup orange, remainder undyed white.
- Fit one pastry bag with the #1a decorating tip and fill with white icing. Fit one pastry bag with the #2 decorating tip and fill with the black icing. Fit one pastry bag with the #3 decorating tip and fill with orange icing.
- Using the white icing, pipe a large dollop onto the cookie to cover the entire surface. If your icing ends up shaped like a chocolate kiss, gently tap the cookie on the counter to encourage the icing to settle.
- Using the black icing, pipe the snowman’s eyes and mouth.
- Using the orange icing, pipe a nose to resemble a carrot.
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