I love this Christmas cookie recipe and I make it every year. it is not Christmas without these cookies. This dough does need to be refrigerated prior to baking, preferably overnight. It is meant to be a drop cookie that you press flat with a drinking glass. It is possible to roll out the dough and cut out with cookie cutters, but this dough does not hold its shape while baking, so your cutouts will end up a little rounded and puffy-looking after baking. I personally avoid anything that requires a rolling pin. For some reason, rolling out dough makes me want to fly to pieces. So I just do the round cookies. Since these cookies DO expand while baking, this is perfect for little kids who go crazy with the decorations and pile on mountains of colored sugars. After the cookie is baked, that mountain of sugar will look like it’s just right.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies, so it is great for cookie exchanges or gifts. The recipe is easily halved.

Cream together (I use a stand mixer):

  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature. This can be salted or unsalted butter. (The original ‘vintage’ recipe called for margarine, which I thought sounded awful, so that is the only change I made to the recipe.)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, combine:

  • 4 cups all-purpose white flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, but maybe add a pinch more if you also used unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. The dough will be very moist, which is why you need to refrigerate it several hours or overnight. It will become a firmer dough when it is cold. When it’s time to decorate and bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get out your cookie sheets. Don’t grease the cookie sheets, but parchment or silpat is ok. Use a cookie scoop, tablespoon, or your hands to pull out some dough, 1-2 tablespoons, and roll into a ball. Press the ball flat using the bottom of drinking glass that has been dipped in sugar. Decorate with sugars, sprinkles, red hots, etc prior to baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes. I take them out at 12 minutes.

My mom used to remove the cookies to newspaper to cool. The newspaper would absorb some oil from the baked cookies. It does seem weird and I don’t have newspaper around, so sometimes I remove the cookies to paper towels and sometimes just to the cookie plate. Try to wait until they are cool before you eat them. They are better when they are cool because they are not quite so chewy as they are right out of the oven. They do need to be kept in an airtight container because they are so delicate they will absorb moisture from the air if left out overnight.

(Image credit: my own photo)

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