A Squared: Christmas Cut Out Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cut Out Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

It's my final holiday cookie post of 2012! 

This year's other cookies: Peanut butter kisses, chocolate mint kisses, kiffles

One of my favorite traditions from Christmases past is making cut out cookies for Santa with my family.  We have been using this same recipe for as long as I can remember and it is so good that we have never had a reason to ever stray from it.  The cookies are really good-- soft and chewy with a sweet vanilla buttercream frosting.  These are not fast cookies to make, but the process is worth it. 

My goofy husband gets in on the frosting action

We used to love helping my mom roll out and cut the cookies and then, of course, gathering around the table to frost and decorate them.  When we were little there were a lot of ugly cookies with sloppy frosting and a disgusting amount of sprinkles.  Then we'd select a few to leave out for Santa (along with some carrot sticks for the reindeer, of course).  Once we got a little older they looked prettier and were also sometimes decorated inappropriately.  Sisters, you know what I am talking about.

I hope you give this recipe a try.  These are great cookies to leave out for Santa, to share with your friends and neighbors in your cookie tins, or to bring to your cookie exchange.  Please enjoy one of my family's favorites!

Cut Out Sugar Cookies


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
Beat butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and beat well until combined.  Add vanilla, flour, and baking soda and mix well until dough is combined and comes together.  Pull the dough together into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for several hours; preferably overnight.

Roll dough out onto a floured mat or board until about 1/4 inch thick.  It works best to work in batches, so you may want to break the dough into 4 pieces and remove from the refrigerator one at a time to roll out and cut.  After rolling out, cut into desired shapes and bake on a cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees or until edges are very lightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets until cookies can be easily removed with a spatula.  Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely and then frost.

Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk *For best results, do not use skim milk.  2% milk works very well, whole milk also makes it very creamy
  • Food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk until smooth.  If necessary, add more milk until frosting is a spreadable consistency.

If desired, add a few drops of food coloring.  For these cookies I divided the frosting into 6 small cups and left one colorless and colored 4 more red, green, blue, and yellow.  For the sixth one, I added a small spoonful of cocoa powder and stirred well to create brown (chocolate-flavored) frosting.

This recipe makes enough frosting to fill and frost a 2-layer cake, a 13x9-inch sheet cake, or 2 dozen cupcakes.

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