College Cooking: Christmas Cookies

Emily Dickinson // The Watchdog

It is finally December which means that Christmas is almost here! To start off the Christmas season right, we give you the classic holiday cookie recipe. These shortbread cut-out cookies are perfect for decorating, eating and leaving out for Santa Claus!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Royal Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Food coloring


  • Electric mixer
  • Cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Cooking trays 
  • Piping bag or piping pen 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt using a fork.
  3. In an electric mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fully combined, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat the mixture.
  5. Add the dry mixture into the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  6. When the mixture is combined but crumbly, knead the dough with your hands and form a ball.
  7. Line cooking trays with silicone sheets or parchment paper.
  8. Flour a clean flat surface and place the dough in the middle.
  9. Flour your hands and the rolling pin and roll the dough out until it is about ¼ of an inch thick.
  10. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies and place them at least an inch apart on the cooking trays. 
  11. Re-roll the leftover dough and repeat steps nine and ten until all of the dough is gone.
  12. Place the cooking trays in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  13. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, water and honey until all lumps are gone. 
  14. Divide the icing into different bowls, one for each color, and add the desired food coloring. Add one drop at a time and mix until it is your desired color.
  15. Fill a piping bag or piping pen with the icing from one bowl and pipe the outline of the cooled cookie.
  16. Fill in the cookie with icing and use a toothpick to spread the frosting in order to close any gaps.
  17. Let dry before adding details (if desired).
  18. Wash the piping bag or piping pen in-between color uses.
  19. If the top of the icing in the bowl develops a film, add a tiny bit of water and mix.
  20. Let the cookies dry for about an hour (they take three to four hours to be completely dry).
  21. Enjoy and happy holidays!