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German Christmas Cookies

This classic Christmas cookie recipe has delighted generations of cookie-eaters.

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Part of all the Christmas chaos and fun is to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. This recipe for German Christmas cookies couldn’t be easier and the cookies are about as light and sweet as they come. If you can manage some self-control, you’ll have a big batch of cookies to decorate for a fun holiday activity with the kiddos. These cookies couldn’t be more simple, which is probably why a recipe like this has stuck around for so many years, it’s time-tested to be delicious.

Powdered sugar is the magic ingredient here. It is so much lighter than granulated sugar and has a subtle sweetness, which makes these cookies so light in texture. And without butter, we’re not getting anywhere! So sugar and butter are two super important ingredients for creating the perfect cookie. For added depth of flavor, we’re not using one but two flavored extracts – vanilla and almond extract and they work in harmony here to add a light and sweet taste to the cookie. To get just the right texture, the dough does need to spend some time in the refrigerator, so this is a make-ahead dough, but rest assured, this batch will make a TON of cookies. So you don’t have to bake them all in one go.

This cookie recipe is pretty darn good on its own, but adding a little sugary decoration never hurt a cookie. Each cookie is like a blank canvas just waiting for some colorful sweet frosting to make the cookie look festive. And did we mention this recipe makes a TON of cookies? You’ll have more than you know what to do with, and definitely plenty of cookies to leave out for Santa. A German Christmas cookie is a holiday recipe that families have made for generations, with the tradition passed along to each new generation as a cookie gift for the Christmas season.

Yield(s): Serves 36+ cookies

30 minutes active

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 14 reviewers
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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, almond and vanilla extract until creamy. Add ⅓ of flour mixture and mix, followed by 1 egg. Repeat, adding ⅓ flour mixed in and then 1 egg. Add remaining flour and beat until fully mixed.
  3. Remove dough from mixing bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Lightly flour cutting board or clean countertop. Cut off ⅓ of cookie dough and return remaining dough to refrigerator.
  6. Roll dough with a floured rolling pin to ¼-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter - any shape - to cut out shapes. Re-roll scraps of dough until all has been used.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just golden in color. Repeat process with refrigerated cookie dough to make more cookies.
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, cookies are ready to frost (optional).

Recipe adapted from Perfecting the Pairing.