Christmas Sugar Cookie + Icing Recipe (Secret Ingredients!)

Christmas isn’t complete without making sugar cookies! Even more important than the physical cookie, is the homemade icing that goes on top.ICING. Not Frosting! It’s what makes or breaks a sugar cookie!

The main difference between frosting and icing is frosting has the addition of butter. Butter adds calories and fat, and doesn’t even taste better than omitting it. Now if were talking those frosting containers from the store, who even knows what’s in them. I highly advise taking the extra 5 minutes to make your own icing – it’s quick and simple with only 3 ingredients. Icing also dries hard and shiny, making cookies more stackable for storage.

Regardless of whatever frosting or icing your using, its JAM PACKED with sugar. It’s essentially all powdered sugar. So you’ll just have to get over that part and accept it as a Christmas treat. There’s no “healthy” way to making icing unfortunately.

Once you’ve come to embrace the sugar high you’re about to have, these cookies are hands down the softest, tastiest, and delicious treat that’s 100% worth the sugar splurge.

Below is my Mom’s Christmas Cookie recipe and homemade icing – we’ve made these every Christmas for as long as I can remember. They are ALWAYS a hit at Christmas parties.There’s no other way for me to say it, but, I’ve never liked anyone’s Christmas cookies better than my own, so I’d love for you to try this recipe too and let me know what you think!

Last year, my mom gave me this Kate Spade Recipe book (almost sold out, similar print here) for Christmas and hand wrote some of our favorite recipes in there for me (like these sugar cookies!) A recipe book filled with family recipes is such a thoughtful gift with a personal touch!

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

Makes 2 dozen shapes


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy (optional – I didn’t have brandy and I substituted
    with bourbon and loved the taste)



  1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (use electric mixer)
  2. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl
  3. Slowly pour dry ingredient mixture into the butter mixture and beat well
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and Brandy (if desired, or sub for bourbon)
  5. Beat again until well mixed
  6. Use your hands to round the dough into a large ball and chill the dough for at least 1 hour
  7. Preheat oven to 350
  8. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick
  9. Cut into shapes, leftover dough can be rolled and cut again until you use all the dough
  10.  Cook on either parchment paper or a silicon-baking mat. The silicon-baking mat doesn’t have any browning and I found the cookies to be softer than the ones baked right on the pan or parchment paper. It’s worth using!
  11. Bake for 10 min, do not brown (sometimes I take them out at 9 mins, but I like extra soft!)

Icing Recipe

This one isn’t an exact science; it depends on the consistency you like. I like mine a little thinner (more milk) This is the proportion I start with, and then if I run out of icing and I have to get more the proportions get a little fuzzy.


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract


  1. Mix it together with an electric mixer, divide into bowls and add some food coloring!
  2. Now your ready to ice all the cookies you just made (after they cool of course).
  3. P.S – cleaning is easy if you lay down newspaper (but who has those anymore) or like I did, a towel at your icing station. Just throw it in the wash and your table or counter is still clean!

Have you used almond extract in icing yet? Let me know what you think once you try it!

A few years ago (notice the iPhone 6 picture quality) I had a sugar cookie decorating party with friends in Austin and used the same recipe!

Hi, I'm Anna!

Welcome to the corner of the internet where you’ll find boho & bright style, travel adventures, and life in my latest “hometown” – Nashville, Tennessee. My love and I recently bought a house – and we’re taking on the renovations ourselves! You’ll be seeing more home content here – from DIY tutorials to home decor inspiration. We have a LOT of ideas for this house, implementing slowly one room at a time!

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