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Christmas Butter Cookie Cutouts

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  • Prep 1 hr 30 min
  • Total 3 hr 30 min
  • Servings 32
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This recipe is a classic that came out of the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens a while ago, but in our book, a recipe that stands the test of time is the only kind worth having! We recently baked up a batch of these cookies to give them a refreshed recipe image, and we can attest that these are an exceptionally fun option for bakers who want to make something that’s achievable but still stretches their skills. The base for these cookies is delightfully short and treads the perfect line between being tender and having a satisfying little snap. Once they’re out of the oven and cooled, the real fun begins. First they get brushed with a thin icing that forms a lovely, smooth canvas for decorating. Once that’s set, creativity takes center stage, and you can test your hand at decorating with royal icing and all the sprinkles, sugars and nonpareils you can find in your pantry. The editor who took on the task of decorating these was intimidated at first, having a complicated history with royal icing, but found the recipe included below easy to work with to create beautiful cookies. Set aside some time to devote to making these cookies when the Christmas spirit really sets in—we promise they’ll bring you the comfort and joy of the season!
Updated Oct 22, 2019
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  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Royal Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons water


  • Betty Crocker™ colored sugars
  • Betty Crocker™ candy sprinkles
Make With
Gold Medal Flour


  • 1
    In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. On low speed, beat in egg, lemon peel and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt until well blended.
  • 2
    Divide dough into 4 parts; flatten each part into 1/2-inch-thick round. Wrap each in waxed paper or plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • 3
    Heat oven to 350°F. Remove 1 round of dough at a time from refrigerator. Between sheets of floured waxed paper or plastic wrap, roll dough until 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Cut with 3-inch cookie cutters in various shapes. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cutouts 1 inch apart.
  • 4
    Bake 10 to 12 minutes or just until edges are golden. Cool on cookie sheets about 1 minute before removing to cooling rack. To make cookies for hanging, using a toothpick or end of plastic straw, carefully poke a hole in the top of each cookie while cookies are still hot. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before frosting.
  • 5
    In medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Stir in 5 teaspoons lemon juice and enough of the 4 to 5 tablespoons water to make a thin icing. Transfer 1/2 cup of the icing into small bowl; set aside. Using a flexible pastry brush, paint cookies to the edges with icing. Place on cooling rack to dry completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 6
    Beat reserved icing with electric mixer on high speed 5 to 7 minutes or until peaks form. Place in small resealable food-storage plastic bag; cut a very small hole in the bottom of the bag with the plain white icing. Squeeze icing onto glazed cookies. Before icing dries, sprinkle with decorations, and tap off excess. Dry thoroughly on cooling rack. Thread cookies with narrow ribbon for hanging.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    These cookies store well. Once frostings are set (including the decorations), place into a firm tin or plastic container and freeze. They can be kept up to 2 months.


150 Calories, 4 1/2g Total Fat, 2g Protein, 25g Total Carbohydrate, 16g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie (With Icing Only)
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
4 1/2g
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
1 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Come the holidays, there are few better cookie choices than Christmas Butter Cookie Cutouts. Their simplicity makes them the perfect cookie to make with little ones on a Saturday afternoon. The key to delectably tender Christmas cookie cutouts is properly softened butter, which is beaten with sugar until creamy. Don’t overbeat the butter and sugar mixture as it will lead to tough cookies. Once the dough is prepared, divide it into four portions, wrap each portion in plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator. Sectioning off the dough makes it more manageable to work with as chilled dough is easier to cut out into perfect shapes. Bake cookie cutouts to golden perfection and let cool before decorating. You don’t want your icing to melt right off. To store Christmas butter cookies, let the frosting and decorations set. Then, place cookies into a tin or plastic container with wax paper between each layer. Decorated cookie cutouts can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. Learn more tips and tricks for baking perfect holiday cookies from Betty’s cookie cheat sheet. Then, try out your new skills with another one of Betty’s butter cookie recipes.
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