Holiday Sugar Cookies

Preparation info

  • Makes about


    2½ inch cookies
    • Difficulty


Appears in


By Joanne Chang

Published 2010

  • About

I’ve been baking holiday cookies since long before I became a pastry chef. I found a simple recipe for sugar cookies during my first year in college, and I’ve been using it—gradually improving it as my baking career progressed—ever since. Some years I’ve made so many cookies for so many people that the dough takes up an entire shelf of my refrigerator. I end up spending long hours, night after night after work, rolling out the dough, chilling it, cutting out shapes, baking the cookies, letting them cool, and decorating them. Decorating is the fun part—I customize them for the recipients, playing with Pollockesque dribbles, carefully drawn faces on gingerbread shapes, and traditional adornments like silver candy balls on Christmas trees. The whole process takes up a lot of time, but it’s part of the joy of the season, and people love getting homemade cookies as a gift.

With holiday baking, always remember to relax and enjoy it. If your decorating doesn’t come out perfectly, it isn’t a calamity. Holiday cookies are meant to look as if they came from your home kitchen and not from some factory that cranks out hundreds of identical Santas every day. Making holiday treats at home each year encapsulates what I love about baking: handmade simple, sweet things that bring joy to others.