12 Days of Cookies – Day 1: Frosted Sugar Cookies

Traditional sugar cookies frosted with buttercream and dressed up for the holiday make these Frosted Sugar Cookies the perfect Christmas treat!

Holiday Frosted Sugar Cookies #12DaysOfCookies | JavaCupcake.com

Every Christmas I make dozens of cookies.  Dozens upon dozens upon dozens.  I make everything from peanut butter blossoms to chocolate crinkles to thumbprints and of course, sugar cookies.

If you’ve been reading JavaCupcake for a while, you’ll know I’ve posted the recipe for these sugar cookies many times and for many different occasions or holidays.  This recipe is the perfect sugar cookie recipe and it comes out beautifully every time I make it.  It also comes from the cookbook my mother and I used to bake from when I was kid.

So this recipe has sentimental value.  A lot of it.  These sugar cookies are one of the first things I can remember baking with my Mom as a kid.  She made making these every Christmas a tradition… one that I’ve carried on to my family.

And some day, I’ll pass on the cookbook to my daughter so that she can teach her daughter to bake sugar cookies.

Holiday Frosted Sugar Cookies #12DaysOfCookies | JavaCupcake.com

Since I wanted to make these frosted sugar cookies special for Christmas, I used a basic round cookie cutter to shape the dough.  When we’re making these cookies for Santa, was use different shapes of cookie cutters… like trees, snowflakes, stars, etc… but I wanted these to be the same in size and shape to show you how easy they’d be to make for your holiday party.

Aren’t they just beautiful in red and green?  Simple, yet perfect for a Christmas party or cookie exchange.  Honestly, I think they look a lot like I bought them in a bakery shaped this way.


Frosted Sugar Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Buttercream Frosting
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • up to ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • Red & Green gel food coloring
  • Red, green & white sugar pearls
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and shortening together until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and beat on high until incorporated.
  3. One at a time, add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Mix on high for 1 minute until pale yellow and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar and mix until just combined.
  7. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 2 hours or over night.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. On a floured counter, knead the dough 2-3 times until smooth. Roll out cookie dough to about ⅛" thick. Cut out 3" circles with a cutter and place on the cookie sheet 1" apart. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  10. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until the edges are SLIGHTLY brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE!!
  11. Allow to cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add up to ½ cup of heavy whipping cream until you reach your desired consistency. If you like it thicker, add less cream. If you want it thinner, add more cream.
  5. Whip on high for 2 minutes.
  6. Separate frosting into two bowls. Color one with red and another with green gel coloring.
Assembly & Storage
  1. Frost half the cookies with red and the other half with green.
  2. Sprinkle sugar pears on top of the frosting.
  3. Store in an air tight container for up to a week.

Want more cookies?

Check out the main page for the 12 Days of Cookies and you’ll find the links to all the recipes! Next cookie will be posted on Black Friday!

12 Days of Cookies - Day 1 | JavaCupcake.com



13 thoughts on “12 Days of Cookies – Day 1: Frosted Sugar Cookies

  1. Fun! I can’t wait to follow along. Advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas are my favorite! I’ll be posting a 12 days of Christmas on my Facebook page to revive old posts but love the idea of all cookies!!

  2. Hi Betsy ,

    Do you find that you can stack these cookies with this frosting? I have a hard time finding a frosting that doesn’t have then stick together. Thank you.

    1. Oh yes, absolutely. If you leave the cookie out, uncovered, for several hours after you frost them… the frosting sets right up. It won’t be hard like royal icing, but you’ll definitely be able to stack them. The key to making that possible is making sure you add enough of the cream to make a smooth, thin frosting that spreads easily. You don’t want a thick buttercream. The thin will easily harden and will allow the cookies to stack! You can see in the picture how these cookies are laying on eachother… as soon as you pick one up, the one under is in perfect shape! 🙂 Happy Baking!

  3. Hi! I’m really sorry for my ignorance but because I’m not an english native person I don’t know what is shortening. Can you please explain me better?

    1. Shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature and used to make crumbly pastry and other food products. Shortening is used in pastries that should not be elastic, such as cake. It the USA the brand we use mainly is called Crisco.

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