Homemade Christmas cookies are a traditional Christmas activity done in many households for Christmas. It is a beautiful gift idea, or even a great snack to have at night while sipping on hot chocolate. Whichever way you like to serve it, Christmas cookies are a must-have snack during Christmas.
Growing up as a child, my mum used to make Christmas hampers to distribute to neighbours and friends on Christmas day. This hamper had Christmas cake, love cake, Sri Lankan milk toffee, Coconut rocks, breudher, stollen and Christmas cookies.
The Christmas cookies I grew up with is very different from the decorated sugar cookies that are served all over the world. The cookies we grew up with, had different variations, such as ones with jam inside, or dipped in chocolate etc… but I thought this year, I must give a try and make the decorated sugar cookies that everyone makes. After all, it is a fun activity to do with all your kids and family.
What are Christmas cookies called
There is a variety of Christmas cookies, the one I am about to give you is called sugar cookies. These are stable and easy to decorate. I will hopefully next year give a few other varieties of cookie recipes.
Why do we give cookies to santa?
Have you seen on television or even magazines and storybooks, that you leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa? it is actually a fun way to get your kids involved to make cookies and leave for Santa, isn’t it???
So basically it is said that during the great depression in America in 1930 parents tried to teach their kids the importance of kindness and sharing and that they are lucky to receive gifts for Christmas and in return for the cookies and milk, Santa would stop by and leave gifts. Until today this tradition is carried out, whether it is with a good heart or as bribery to receive gifts, children would happily enjoy this activity.
To be honest as a child my father used to leave a bottle of wine outside for Santa. Mind you he was the Santa!!! hah hahaha, he did not want milk and cookies, he wanted wine!!!
We would go for midnight mass, and when we come back, he would tell me and my brother to wait outside while he checks if Santa is still inside (AKA, he is leaving the gifts under the tree) then he would quickly have a sip of wine and come outside and tell us, oh Santa Claus has left gifts and had a glass of wine too hahhahahhahah and we as kids believed him. I am so happy that I had wonderful parents that gave me the joy of Christmas I deserved as a kid.
Most popular cookie cutter shape
Christmas tree and gingerbread man will be the most popular shapes, but now you can buy an assortment of cookie cutters. Which is what I have used.
When should you start making christmas cookies
When I worked as a chef, we used to make cookies, 2 months in advance. I remember we used to bring in hotel school training chefs just to make cookies. We would then freeze them and bake closer to the date. The best is to make them 4-5 days in advance and decorate them with icing 1 day in advance.
How long do Christmas cookie last?
2 weeks in an airtight container without icing, with icing 3 days maximum as raw egg white is used. I use pasteurized egg white that we can buy in the supermarkets here in Australia, so I will decorate and keep my cookies for 1 week.
I will actually make and bake my cookies on the 22nd December and decorate them on the 23rd December.
How to store cookies
In an airtight container at room temperature in a cool and dry place. You can also refrigerate them. If it is humid, definitely refrigerate them, as the icing will not last and will meltdown.
Christmas cookies icing
This icing is called the royal icing. It is easy to decorate with this icing and also it sets hard.
Can I refrigerate decorated cookies
Yes, you definitely can. If you live in a humid country definitely refrigerate them.
Can you freeze christmas cookies
Yes, you can, after decorating them, you will need to let it set completely and arrange them in layers with parchment paper in between so they don’t stick together. Then thaw them 1 hour before serving.
you can also make the cookie dough and flatten it and freeze them and bake closer to the date. I haven’t trialled them in my home, but as a chef, we definitely did this. I will also be freezing a few of my cookies this year, so I can try it myself.
Royal icing ingredients
Icing sugar- This is the base of the icing
Egg white- This is what will harden the icing and allow it to set. Some use egg white powder or pasteurized egg white so can keep them for longer
Corn syrup or glucose syrup; if you don’t have it, you can omit this, this is what gives the icing a nice sheen colour. Icing will be matt without the glucose syrup. Many speciality cake shops sell this ingredient. Here in Australia, it is widely available in any major supermarket in the cake and baking section.
You can also check my other Christmas recipe here
Watch how to make homemade Christmas cookies
Step by Step recipe how to make homemade christmas cookies
Easy Homemade Christmas Cookies Recipe
- 113 g Butter Unsalted
- 110 g White sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla essence
- 1/2 Egg
- 225 g All-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 250 g Icing sugar
- 30 g Egg white
- 3/4 tbsp Glucose syrup Optional but recommended
- 3/4 tbsp Water
- Food colouring ( red, green) ( According to eye measurements)
- Preheat oven to 170C (Conventional oven), Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
- In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until creamy
- Then add the egg, vanilla and mix further
- Lower the speed and incorporate the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well until well combined
- Once mixed, you will end up with a crumbly dough. Dust a flat work surface with flour and roll the dough to a ball then roll it to a log shape, cut into 2 pieces. Using one piece flatten it to 1 mm thickness using a rolling pin.
- Using cookie cutters, cut your desired shapes and place them on the lined baking trays, leaving small gaps in between them The number of cookies you end up with will be determined by the size of the cookie cutterOnce the dough is cut, you can roll up the off cuts and re flatten it to make more cookies
- Bake in the oven for 6-10 minutes, turning them halfway through Timing will depend on each oven and the thickness of the cookies
- Once cooked, take it out of the oven and let them cool down on a wire rack completely.It will be soft when taking off the oven, but once cooled down it will harden up.
- Place the icing sugar, water, egg white and glucose syrup in a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment ( need to reheat the glucose syrup in the microwave for 15 seconds) and mix well. You will have a liquid consistency, but not too liquid. If you wish you can also use a hand whisk to do this.
- Divide the icing into 3 parts into 3 small bowls, add red colouring to one, green colouring to one and one plain. Pour them into piping bags.
- To decorate the cookies, cut the tip of the piping bag ( Make sure the hole is small and not too big) and decorate them as you desire ( see the video on how to decorate) Use a toothpick to decorate the middle part of the cookies