Christmas Cookies are a popular sweet treat during the festive season in many parts of the world.

Children often leave out the cookies as a gift for Santa, a tradition which is believed to have begun in North America in the 1930s.

Unlike other sugar cookie recipes, there is no need to chill this dough before rolling and cutting. \ Janine Kennedy

There’s a bit of debate around where the recipe for Christmas cookies comes from, although it’s believed it originated in Medieval Europe when cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds, and dried fruit were introduced into the west.

Throughout Europe, different variations of Christmas cookies became popular in the 16th century - with Lebkuchen, a honey-sweetened cake molded cookie or bar becoming popular in Germany - pepparkakor, a Swedish cookie similar to gingerbread in Sweden - and krumkake a Norwegian waffle cookie made of flour, butter, eggs, sugar and cream in Norway.

These cookies are quick and easy to make. They can be decorated in many different ways, which can be a fun activity to do as a family over the Christmas.

Once they’re ready, you can enjoy them yourself or give them as a sweet gift to friends and family.

Janine made her royal icing from scratch in this video, but you can use buttercream, store-bought icing, spinkles or store-bought royal icing. You can also dip them in melted chocolate.

Classic Christmas sugar cookies

These cookies are ideal to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. \ Janine Kennedy

Makes 24 cookies


226g butter

200g white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 egg

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

360g plain flour


1 Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

2 In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, almond extract and egg.

3 Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy for about five minutes.

4 Add the baking powder, salt and flour. At this stage, I usually lose the hand mixer and mix using my hands.

5 Mix the dough until it comes together in a ball. If it is too dry, add one tablespoon milk. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour. Divide the dough into two portions.

6 On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of the dough to about 2cm thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and carefully place the cut cookies on the lined baking tray.

7 Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown slightly. Remove the cookies from the tray and let cool on a wire rack.

8 Repeat with the remaining dough until it has all been used. When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with buttercream or royal icing, or dip and drizzle them with melted chocolate. Garnish with festive sprinkles.

*These cookies can be frozen for up to two weeks or will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

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