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Cookies for cutting and icing

This is my family's favourite Christmas cookie recipe. It's quick, versatile and it makes fabulous cookies for cutting and icing - just roll it out and get creative!

Cooking for cutting and icing
Cookie production line!

Makes lots! These cookies freeze very well (before icing).

For cookies:
350g (12 oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling
110g (4 oz) caster sugar
225g (8 oz) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

For icing:
About 450g (1 lb) icing sugar

Put the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor then add butter and vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Pulse again to bring it together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. (If you don't have a food processor, you can of course do this by hand).

Roll the dough out to about ΒΌ inch thick and stamp out biscuits using cutters. Place on baking sheets (you may have to chill again for 15 minutes of so). If you are going to hang the cookies on the tree, make small holes at the top of each shape with a plastic drinking straw. Bake at 350F (180C, Gas Mark 4) for 12-15 minutes. Remove and leave briefly on trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Use boiling water to make up the icing. Decorate as appropriate.

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