Cookies | Grocer to Table

Santa Claus Cut Out Cookie Recipe

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With a crispy outside and soft on inside, these is the best cut out cookie recipe you will ever try! Perfect plain or decorated.

Bite taken out of cookie.Pin

Mom started making these delicious cut out cookies in the early 1950’s. The cutters are from Aunt Chick’s. They are available again today, using the same injection molds that the originals were made from in the 1940’s.

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Here is a link to the site for the cutters. These cookies are really easy but decorating takes a bit of time.

Two Santa Clause cookies on gray plate.Pin

Ok, bare with me just a moment. Then on to the important facts…

When we were little, my parents, (bless their hearts, but they were crazy!!) used to put up the Christmas tree, decorate it, get all the presents under it and everything after we went to bed on Christmas Eve!

When we woke up on Christmas everything was new and beautiful. It seemed like magic to us.

My father still tells stories of putting together the Easy Bake Oven for one young girl, and all of the parts weren’t in the box! He had to improvise and the story goes, he went to sleep about 5AM and my brothers and I were up by 6AM! 🙂

That must be why I am such a cook now. I got started early.

Several cookies on marble board with wreath ornaments.
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  • The outsides are crispy outside and the insides are soft and chewy, the perfect combination!
  • They freeze for at least 2 months in air tight containers and are still delicious.
  • The dough is easy to work with.
  • They hold their shape well for easy decorating
  • Are great plain or frosted, whichever you prefer
  • Super buttery and lots of vanilla flavor
  • Use any cutters you like, for any season. Hearts, pumpkins, turkeys, they are all cute.

Ingredients you need

For Dough

For Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook)

For Decorating

How to make them

The dough

  • Add soft butter to mixing bowl. Beat.
  • Carefully measure dry ingredients
  • Add sugar to butter and cream together.
  • Crack 3 room temperature eggs in a separate bowl.
  • Add eggs and vanilla to creamed butter.
  • Mix well.
  • Then beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add dry ingredients and just incorporate. Divide into 2 to 3 portions. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or overnight.
Collage of photos for how to make the dough. See details in recipe below.Pin

How to cut out

  • Roll out small portions of dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut out with your favorite cutter.
  • When using 3-D cutters, press dough into grooves to create the 3-D affect.
  • Place cookies on a well greased or parchment lined cookie sheet or on a silpat .
  • Cut raisins in half for eyes on Santa. If raisins are huge, they may have to trimmed down a bit to be in scale to the cutter. Press down so that they stay.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Check after 8 to make sure they are not getting too brown. Cool on wire rack thoroughly before decorating.
Collage of photos to explain cutting the cookies out. See details in recipe card below.Pin

For frosting

  • Add softened butter to mixing bowl.
  • Cream in sifted powdered sugar.
  • Add a bit of milk until desired consistency.

IMPORTANT NOTES-

  • You want the frosting very firm when doing the hat, eyebrows and mustache.
  • Don’t add vanilla until after these areas are done so that the frosting is very white.
  • You can also add more milk to thin to a more spreadable consistency before you do the beard.

How to decorate

  • Paint smile on with a very fine paintbrush, or use the tip of a toothpick, dipped in straight red food coloring.
  • Whisk egg white with red food coloring. Use cotton swab to make cheeks and nose.
  • Sprinkle with red sugar while still wet.
  • Use the same process with egg wash and sugar to do the hat.
  • Let sit to dry a few minutes and then brush off the excess sugar. Use cotton swab, toothpick or clean fine brush.
  • Using a piping bag or the tip of a baking spatula, apply frosting to the areas that are eye brows and mustache. I like to fluff the frosting up a bit so that they look more like hair.
  • Use the same process for the rim and tip of hat.
  • Apply frosting to beard area with a baking spatula. Top with coconut, lightly pressing down to make the coconut stick.
collage of photos explaining how to decorate cookies. Details in recipe below.Pin

Pro tips to ensure your success

  • If the dough is a bit sticky, don’t be afraid to flour the cutters and the board. it won’t affect the flavor at all.
  • Make sure your butter is very soft before mixing.
  • Measure the dry ingredients carefully. With only 7 ingredients there is very little room for error.
  • Let the dough chill overnight for best success, but at least 2-3 hours.
  • Roll out small pieces of dough at a time so that the remaining dough stays firm.
  • If dough is difficult to roll, when first removed from the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  • If dough gets too warm after rolling, set it in the freezer for a few minutes before rerolling.
  • You can reroll scraps too.
  • Never put the raw dough on a warm or hot cookie sheet. Always make sure that you place dough on a cool, or cold cookie sheet. (Freeze the sheet for a few minutes or place outside in the garage.) This will lessen spreading.
  • If your cookies are spreading out a bit more than you like, freeze the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes to chill the butter back up.
  • Do not double recipe unless you have 6 or 8 quart mixing bowl, like my kitchenaid! The dough is too thick!
  • A favorite way to eat them is directly out of the freezer. They are nice and crispy. Others prefer them soft so just let thaw for a few minutes.
Decorated cut outs on marble board.Pin

How to store cut out cookies

Let cookies thoroughly air dry for at least of few hours before packing.

Cookies will store in the refrigerator 4-5 days. For best results freeze cookies up to 2 months in an airtight container. Pack cookies with waxed paper between layers. Add crumbled up waxed paper to fill void areas.

Thaw how ever many you need to serve, or eat them straight out of the freezer.

Other vintage Christmas cookies

Tools I Use

Aren’t they cute? Wait to see the kids’ faces light up when they see these! That makes it worth the effort.

I hope you enjoy the recipe for Santa Claus Cut Out Cookies! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous, New Year!

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If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.

I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Bite taken out of Santa's beard.Pin

Cut – Out Cookies

These vintage cookie cutters make the cutest Santa Claus cookies you have ever seen!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 36 large cookies
Calories: 215kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $3

Ingredients

For Dough

For Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook)

For Decorating

Instructions

For Dough

  • Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream again until light and fluffy. 
  • Add eggs and thoroughly combine. Scrap the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and thoroughly combine.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 parts just combining between additions. Don’t over beat. The dough will be tough.
  • Roll in waxed paper.
  • Chill overnight.

To cut out cookies

  • Roll dough out on a piece of floured waxed paper to about 1/4″ thickness. 
  • Cut cookies out with cookie cutters. (coat cutters with flour, if dough wants to stick) For Santa cookies, press dough into deep crevices so that the 3D features show in dough.
  • For Santa’s eyes, cut raisins in half and press in eye sockets BEFORE Baking!
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  • Bake at 350° F for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden at the edges

For Frosting

  • In bowl beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in milk minus 3 Tbsp. Slowly beat in remaining powdered sugar.
  • Remove about 3/4 c. of icing to a bowl for eyebrows, mustaches and hat of Santa Claus.
  • Add remaining milk and vanilla. If the icing isn’t quite thick enough, just add more powdered sugar a few heaping tablespoons at a time. Use the remainer of frosting for Santa’s beard.
  • Can be colored with food coloring to frost other cookies.

For decorating Santa Claus Cookies

  • Put a few teaspoons of red food coloring in a small glass.
  • With a very small paint brush, or the tip of toothpick, draw mouth in between mustache. Let dry for a few minutes.
  • Add 1 whisked egg white to the remainder of the food coloring in bowl and mix together. Add more food coloring, if required to get it nice and red.
  • In the areas where the cheeks are pressed out and the nose, with a cotton swab, make round circle of egg white/ red coloring mixture, in the middle. (For his rosy cheeks and nose.)
  • Sprinkle the nose and cheeks with red sugar. 
  • Next, paint on the main section of the hat with the egg/ coloring mixture and sprinkle that with red sugar. Let dry 10 minutes or so. 
  • Next, dump off the excess sugar on a small plate. We usually clean up the edge with clean q-tips and toothpicks.
  • I do the mustache and eyebrows first, because I like them to look fluffy, so I fluff it up with another clean toothpick, after it dries for a few minutes. Then I pipe on the the pompom and rim of the hat. And fluff that up with a knife.
  • Spread on the beard with a knife or baking spatula.
  • Top the frosting with coconut. Done! Whew!!
  • IMPORTANT: Let cookies dry for at least a few ideas before packing and storing. Store between pieces of waxed paper.
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Notes

  • Cut dough between sheets of floured waxed paper.
  • For the 3D effect, press dough into crevices in cutter.
  • If the dough is a bit sticky, don’t be afraid to flour the cutters and the board. it won’t affect the flavor at all.
  • Make sure your butter is very soft before mixing.
  • Measure the dry ingredients carefully.
  • Let the dough chill overnight for best success, but at least 2-3 hours.
  • Roll out small pieces of dough at a time so that the remaining dough stays firm.
  • If dough is difficult to roll, when first removed from the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  • If dough gets too warm after rolling, set it in the freezer for a few minutes before rerolling.
  • You can reroll scraps too.
  • Never put the raw dough on a warm or hot cookie sheet. Always make sure that you place dough on a cool, or cold cookie sheet. (Freeze the sheet for a few minutes or place outside in the garage. This will lessen spreading.
  • If your cookies are spreading out a bit more than you like, freeze the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes to chill the butter back up.
  • Do not double recipe unless you have 6 or 8 quart mixing bowl, like my kitchenaid! The dough is too thick!
  • A favorite way to eat them is directly out of the freezer. They are nice and crispy. Others prefer them soft so just let thaw for a few minutes.
For Santa Claus Cookie Cutter, here is link.
General Baking Tips:
Always measure dry ingredients with a dry measuring cup. Measure with dry measuring cups or weigh dry ingredients.
Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid measuring cup
Never break eggs directly into recipe ingredients. Break eggs into a separate bowl, in case you get any shells, so that you can pull them out.
Make sure that you know what temperature your oven is set at. Buy an oven thermometer and check oven temperature regularly.
Always check baked goods, like cakes or quick breads with cake tester, placed in center. If the tester comes out clean, it’s done.

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 26mg | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.8mg
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Originally Published 12/23/2015 Updated 2/2/2022

31 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the Santa cutter! I have my grandma’s recipe she used for these Santas. But alas, the cutter has been lost in the last 2 generations. Any source you have for such a vintage cutter? My grandma would mold the dough just like you show!

  2. I have my mother’s cutters from the late 50s and have been looking for a dough recipe that holds the imprints! We would all sit around the table decorating them each year. Can’t wait to try this out.
    Thank you!

  3. Those are perfectly decorated! Exactly the way I decorate them and the way we did them when I was a little girl 60 yrs. ago. My Mother sold them for 10 cents each ! Merry Christmas

      1. That’s actually my favorite way to eat them. I find the frosting too sweet. We always store them in the freezer so they stay crispy.

  4. 5 stars
    Can the Cookies get anymore beautiful! I would love to bake these with my boys and your detailed explanation and tips are very convenient.

  5. 5 stars
    Finally I’ve found a cookie recipe that checks all the boxes for me. Love the looks, and the instructions seem so easy to follow. Just perfect!

  6. 5 stars
    Love love love! My Grandma made these for us every year, then my mom, and now myself, my daughter and granddaughter and my sister and her kids and grandkids make them, and it’s the highlight of the season! We still have her original cutters, and my mom has some, but I purchased several a few years ago. Last year, I made clay ornaments from one of the cutters, and shipped off to all of the cousins…many of them, an ornament of grandmas cookies, along with the handwritten by Grandma recipe and tips! (Your page as well as the cutters were included) We still debate over chocolate chip or raisin eyes. Brought us all together again! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Aww! Thanks so much for sharing your memories. I too have fond memories of making these with my Mom and Aunt every December! Sadly this will be the first year that we are not able to do them together because of this crazy virus. She is 92 and I don’t want to risk her health! Merry Christmas to you and your family. Again, thanks for sharing!

  7. I see the original recipe has 2 cups of sugar. You’re recipe has one and a 1/2 cups of sugar. How does this change the texture.

    1. I honestly can’t tell you Sefali. We have always used 1.5 cups of sugar. That was their original recipe. Perhaps they have changed it since 1953 or something. Thanks for checking out the recipe.

  8. My grandmother used to send these to us every Chistmas to be hung on the tree like you said. They are my favorite cookie and some of my favorite memories. Im going to try this recipe and send them to family if i can get it right. Tried it last year from a different recipe. Your directions look like they would give me more success. Thanks so much for posting. Merry Christmas!

    1. Aww! Thanks for sharing your memory! I didn’t think anyone else ever hung them on the tree! It was fun, wasn’t it? Some years my mom and I still curse this dough, after so many years, other years it works beautifully. I have a feeling, it’s the dry measuring of the flour. I think I will try weighing the flour instead. Perhaps that will produce more consistent results. Thanks again! Good luck and Merry Christmas! (Let me know how it goes!)

  9. 5 stars
    How cute? How about “totes adorbs”! I can totally see them hanging off the tree, though I’ll take your advice and eat them from the freezer! Haha! Love the sprinkling of sugar in your photos! V festive. Happy Holidays, Beth!

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