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Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies

 Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies
The kids will be jumping for joy when you bring out a cookie plate filled with Santas and his helper elves. These whimsical treats will be a hit with adults, too. The butter cookies are easy to shape and a delight to decorate. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
36 ServingsPrep: 4-1/2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + standing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ROYAL ICING:
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 8 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • 36 miniature marshmallows
  • Assorted sprinkles and pearl dragees

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light
  • and fluffy. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking
  • soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix
  • well.
  • Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a ball, then flatten into a

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Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes
  • or until easy to handle.
  • For Santas: On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough
  • into a 10-in. circle. Turn a pie plate upside down over circle and
  • cut around the edge with a knife; reserve scraps. Cut into eight
  • wedges.
  • Place wedges 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Fold the tip of
  • each wedge down. Tuck a scrap piece of dough (about a 1/2-in. ball)
  • under the upper part of fold.
  • For elves: Roll another portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut in
  • half; cut one-half into four wedges and the other half into eight
  • wedges. Repeat forming Santas with the large wedges. Transfer small
  • wedges to a baking sheet; fold tips down, forming hats.
  • Roll the remaining portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut into 16
  • wedges. Transfer to baking sheets; fold tips down.
  • Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes or until edges are lightly
  • browned. Cool for 2 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool
  • completely.
  • To decorate: In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar,
  • meringue powder and cream of tartar; add water. Beat on low speed
  • just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff
  • peaks form.
  • Tint icing with colors of your choice. (Keep unused icing covered at
  • all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed
  • to restore texture.) Working with one cookie at a time, decorate
  • with icing, attach a marshmallow to the tip of hat and finish with
  • sprinkles and dragees as desired. Let stand until set. Store in an
  • airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.