Cute Santas and a very creative string of lights are sure to steal the show this Christmas! They're the perfect centerpiece for your holiday cookie platter. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- Assorted sprinkles
- Shoestring licorice
- 1/3 cup flaked coconut
- 28 miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 red M&M's miniature baking bits
- 28 miniature marshmallows, halved
- In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill in the freezer for 25 minutes or until easy to handle.
- For lights: On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-in. light-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using a plastic straw, make a hole 1/2 in. from the top of each cookie.
- Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Use a plastic straw to reopen holes in cookies. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- For Santas: Roll remaining dough directly on an ungreased baking sheet into an 11-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Cut lengthwise into two strips, but do not separate. Cut each strip into seven triangles (do not separate).
- Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes; cut around cookies to separate. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To decorate: Microwave corn syrup for 6-8 seconds or until thinned. Working with a few cookies at a time, brush corn syrup over the surface. For lights, decorate with sprinkles as desired. Thread licorice through holes.
- For Santas, press coconut onto faces for beards. Attach chocolate chips for eyes and baking bits for noses. For hats, coat top of cookie with sprinkles; attach marshmallow halves for pom-poms. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.
Originally published as Holiday Sugar Cookies in Simple & Delicious November/December 2009, p55
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