Christmas Cookies

I have been making these since I was a child. They started with a recipe from one of my children’s cookbooks, that I adapted over the years to its current form. My grandmother was a professional cake decorator, and this is her icing recipe. –Keely



  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ sticks butter, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract


Cookie Dough

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Beat butter and shortening for 30 seconds; add sugar and bet until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 3 hours.


Bake Cookies

Preheat oven to 375º. Roll dough in batches on floured surface until ¼” thick; cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 8 minutes, then cool on wire racks.



Beat shortening; add powdered sugar and milk. Add extracts, and beat until well combined. Color icing and decorate.


This makes a LOT of cookies, which was one of my first recipe modifications. These are too much work to only bake a few cookies!


I usually spread the work out over 2 to 3 days. I’ll make the dough the day ahead, then bake the cookies. You can store the un-iced cookies in an air tight container, then decorate the following day if you wish.


If adding detail with a decorator bag and tip, you may need to refrigerate the icing for a very short bit if it becomes too soft. Do not refrigerate for too long, or you will have the opposite problem.