I can't believe it's wintertime in Boston already! This year we got a good amount of snow at the very beginning of December. Do you know what the best thing to do at home is when it's cold outside? Bake cookies! If you're my loyal follower, you've read recipes for the Halloween Spooky Mummy Cookie and Super Bowl Oreo Cookies. My daughter Amber and I enjoy baking cookies together because it is so much fun, and the ingredients are easy to find.
Take butter cookies, for example. All you need are butter, flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Check your pantry and fridge; you may already have everything you need! You can use my basic butter cookie dough recipe as a template, create your own, and call it a chef's whim. I recently discovered Pumpkin Kahlua, and I happened to have some Valrhona Cocoa Power, so I decided to make my Kahlua Chocolate Butter Cookies. You can add original Kahlua and espresso powder to create a coffee butter cookie. Eggnog and nutmeg are perfect for holidays too! Limoncello and lemon zest would be perfect for an Italian summer dinner. Grand Marnier and orange zest sounds great for a French brunch! Don't get too excited! Only one tablespoon! A little booze goes a long way!
The fun part of making holiday sugar cookies is to decorate them. I would suggest you take a trip to the dollar store to get a disposable table cloth, since cleaning the sprinkles might cause you a headache. Some disposable plates for sprinkles can be handy too! You will also need a pastry brush and a small paintbrush if you want to use corn syrup to glue sprinkles and other decorations on your cookies. Amber loves chocolate pearls from Valrhona chocolates, so we used them to decorate our Christmas tree cookies, and they look so festive!
In terms of time management, I would suggest you make the cookie dough one day in advance since the dough has to rest in the fridge for at least two hours. If you would like to decorate the cookies after they are baked, a cooling rack is helpful. If you have the tools listed above ready, let's have fun and make those festive and delicious sugar cookies!
Basic Butter Cookie
- 3 sticks unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until mixed. Switch to a fork and beat the butter mixture until light and fluffy. (Use the same motion you would use for whisking scrambled eggs.)
- Switch back to the spoon and beat in the eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour gradually, mixing just until dough it's combined. If your hands are clean, ditch the spoon and get in there with your fingertips!
- Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hour.
- Slice the cookie dough and place the cookie dough on the sheet pan. Since the butter cookie dough spreads out a little bit in the oven, place each cookie dough at least 1 inch apart from each other.
- Bake for 10–12 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan in the middle of baking, so the cookies get brown evenly.
- Let the cookies cool down on a rack.
Melissa's Kahlua Chocolate Sugar Cookie
- 1/2 Basic Butter Cookie Dough Recipe
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Valrhona cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Kahlua
To bake the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan and then bake another 5 to 7 minutes.
To decorate the cookies:
- Place sprinkles on a plate.
- Use a pastry brush and brush corn syrup on the top of the cookie. (The corn syrup acts like a glue.)
- Put the top side of cookie face-down into the sprinkles. Voila! You have sprinkles on your cookie!
- Use a paint brush and use the corn syrup to attach some decoration on top of the sugar cookies.
Melissa's Kahlua Chocolate Truffle Butter Cookie
- 1/2 Basic Butter Cookie Dough Recipe
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Valrhona cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Kahlua
- Granulated sugar for rolling
- Powder sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using an ice cream scooper, scoop up some yummy dough.
- Form the dough into 1" balls using your hands (let your kids help).
- Roll the balls in a bowl of sugar (try not to touch the dough too much).
- Place the balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- While you bake, unwrap the chocolate truffles or kisses.
- When the cookies are done, remove the pan from the oven. While the cookies are still hot, press the truffles or kisses into the center, and let the cookies cool completely. Enjoy!
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?