Christmas Cookies



This recipe makes a Christmas-size (large) batch of cookies. It can be cut in half if you like.


5 cups King Arthur’s unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups unsalted butter, cool room temperature (15 minutes out of the refrigerator)

2 cups superfine sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon orange oil (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)

finely grated zest of 2 large oranges

2 eggs, lightly beaten


I used colored sanding sugar and colored icing that comes in a tube. I also tried a royal icing recipe.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to distribute the baking powder. Reserve.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and orange oil until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, a little at a time, and continue beating until very light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix very briefly in short bursts, just until incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into four equal portions and flatten each portion to a ½-inch thick disk on a sheet of plastic wrap. Seal the plastic wrap around each portion of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (The sealed dough can be refrigerated for 2-3 days if necessary.)
  6. On a lightly floured pastry cloth, using a covered rolling pin, roll out the dough to 3/16- to ¼-inch thickness. Use a little flour to keep the dough from sticking if necessary, but try not to work too much additional flour into the dough.
  7. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  8. If desired, sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  9. Bake at 375° for 7-10 minutes, until edges are just beginning to lightly brown.
  10. Using a thin, flexible offset spatula, remove cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
  11. After cooling, cookies can be decorated with icing if desired.

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