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These soft and chewy sugar cookies are the perfect easy Christmas cookie recipe if you’re short on time or just want something simple.
CHRISTMAS COOKIES: A LABOR OF LOVE
Ah, Christmas cookies… Everyone loves them but when it comes down to having to make them, it can be a seriously long process. Don’t get me wrong, when the holiday season rolls around, obviously I love to bake, but I also like to take some time to relax and spend time with my family.
So instead of making classic Christmas cookies by mixing a dough, rolling it out, cutting out the shapes, baking them, and tirelessly decorating them for hours, I have learned that sometimes a simple drop cookie recipe is all you need!
Does thinking about holiday cookie baking overwhelm you?
Do you struggle with deciding which cookies to include in your baking extravaganza?
Do you feel like you never have enough time to get all the cookies done and need a better workflow to squeeze everything into one day?
I’ve got your solution!
Don’t get me wrong… We love a batch of classic sugar cookies made into our favorite shapes with cookie cutters and of course topped with my famous easy royal icing. But you can have a solid variety of cookies to go alongside your cutout sugar cookie creations, and these Christmas drop sugar cookies are a great one to start with once you’ve cleaned up your rolling space!
DROP STYLE CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES ARE THE SIMPLE SOLUTION
These Christmas drop cookies are the solution to having festive Christmas cookies that are actually super simple to make and won’t take a whole day to craft. They’re modeled after my favorite vanilla sugar cookies that have morphed into snickerdoodles without cream of tartar and frosted sugar cookies flawlessly, so it only made sense to dress them up for the holidays.
I chose this cookie base because not only does the simple sugar cookie dough make delicious cookies, the dough doesn’t require any chilling and we can turn it into a festive cookie so simply with just colored sugar. I used red and green sanding sugar, but you use any color that you want! Actually, this method of making cookies would be cute for any holiday, and you can change the colors of the sugar accordingly.
WHAT ARE DROP STYLE COOKIES?
Drop cookies are ones that you can literally “drop” on the baking sheet and bake. Most of my cookie recipes are drop style cookies!
The alternative to drop style cookies are cut out cookies. This is usually a shortbread-style dough that you can roll out and then use cookie cutter to cut out the shapes that you want.
Drop style are simply rolled into balls and baked which makes them so incredibly easy!
DROP COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
The cookie dough for this Christmas drop cookies recipe is super simple to make. I adapted this from my classic vanilla sugar cookie recipe which creates incredibly flavorful and chewy cookies, which make the perfect contrast to other classic Christmas cookie recipes like crisp gingerbread cut outs and haystacks.
The only thing that you might not have on hand is the colored sanding sugar. But don’t worry, it is super easy to find in the baking aisle of your grocery store. I like to use the coarser sugar, but fine sugar will also work!
For this drop sugar cookie recipe, you will need:
• all-purpose flour
• baking powder
• baking soda
• unsalted butter
• powdered sugar
• vegetable oil
• vanilla extract
• colored sanding sugar
HOW TO MAKE DROP STYLE CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set this mixture aside.
Next, cream the butter and powdered sugar on medium-high heat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Next, stop the mixer, add the egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract, then beat again on medium speed until everything is combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the dry ingredients in two additions, insuring the first addition is mostly incorporated before adding the second, and continue to beat everything on low until the mixture is just combined.
Place the sanding sugar into as many small bowls as needed for the colors you are using, then, using a cookie scoop, drop the balls of dough into the sugar and use your fingers to gently roll the ball in the sugar. When the ball is completely covered in sugar, place on prepared baking sheet and bake.
This base recipe is one of my favorite cookies that exists on my entire site (and that’s saying a lot– I have well over 100 cookie recipes!), and I think that you’ll love having this recipe on hand for cookie exchanges, filling cookie tins, or simply making memories with your family in the kitchen during the holiday season. I can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into one!
Drop Style Christmas Sugar Cookies Recipe
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour1
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature preferred2
- ¼ cup (56mL) vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup total (167g) colored sanding sugar3
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour1, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- Stop the mixer, add the egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract, then beat again on medium speed until everything is combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.1 large egg, ¼ cup (56mL) vegetable oil, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add the dry ingredients in two additions, insuring the first addition is mostly incorporated before adding the second. Continue to beat on low until just combined. Dough should be soft but not very sticky, and you should be able to scoop it with a cookie scoop without issue. Once it is dropped into the sugar, it will decrease in stickiness.
- Place the sanding sugar into as many small bowls as needed for the colors you are using, then, using a cookie scoop (I use this #50 cookie scoop for all of my standard size cookies), drop balls of dough into the sugar and use your fingers to gently roll the ball in the sugar. When dough ball is completely covered in sugar, place on prepared baking sheet (8 per sheet).⅔ cup total (167g) colored sanding sugar3
- Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes, just until edges are set. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies covered tightly at room temperature up to 1 week. Cookies freeze well, up to 3 months. Unbaked dough balls also freeze well, up to 3 months. Do not roll in sugar, thaw in refrigerator overnight, and roll in sugar before baking.
- Flour: it is imperative that you either fluff/spoon/level your flour or ideally, weigh it in grams. Two cups of all-purpose flour is 240g. Too much flour will result in a dense cookie.
- Room temperature egg: it is always a good idea to use room temperature eggs when using room temperature butter, as it incorporates into batter much more easily. It is not required, just encouraged.
- Sanding sugar: I used red and green sanding sugar, but you can use any colors you like. Aim for the coarser sanding sugar, but know that you can use finer sugar, too.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.