Sparkling vanilla Christmas cookies

Sparkling vanilla Christmas cookies

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(35 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 12 mins Plus chilling time


Makes 20 biscuits
Hang these from a Christmas tree or pack them into boxes as end-of-term gifts for teachers and friends.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal233
  • fat11g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs34g
  • sugars19g
  • fibre1g
  • protein2g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 140g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250g butter, cut into small cubes



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 375g plain flour, sieved

To decorate

  • 200g icing sugar, sieved
  • edible food colouring, optional
  • edible gold and silver balls
  • approx 2m thin ribbon cut into 10cm lengths


  1. Tip the icing sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter into a mixing bowl, then stir together with a wooden spoon (or pulse in a food processor until well combined). Add the flour and mix to a firm dough. Shape the dough into two flat discs and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 20-30 mins. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.

  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of two £1 coins. Cut out Christmassy shapes (use a cutter if you like) and place on the baking sheets. Using the tip of a skewer, cut a small hole in the top of each cookie. Bake for 10-12 mins until lightly golden.

  3. Lift the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water to make a thick, but still runny icing. Colour with edible food colouring, if you like. Spread it over the cooled biscuits, decorate with edible balls and thread with ribbon when dry.

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Comments (45)

pamvee's picture

Simple, tasty and very easy. Made them in a food processor - just added a splash of milk to make dough easier to bind. Took a few minutes longer than recommended.

jeanieh's picture

Nice, easy recipe and great for making and decorating with kids!

aliceeats's picture

Turned out well in the end, but as people have said below, I had to add some milk to the mixture to get it to stick together and also baked for much longer than stated as they were still raw inside after 12 minutes. This recipe makes LOADS of biscuits so next time I might half it. I made snowflakes with icing and silver balls and everyone who had one enjoyed!

maisieg13's picture

I'm only 13 but love to bake and trying these cookies was a great idea, giving it to my friends tomorrow to see what their verdict is. But I personally love them, especially for this time of year x

doodles0789's picture

As a biscuit novice, I was delighted that these biscuits were successful first time. And they taste lovely. I added a bit of mixed spice so I can call them Christmas biccies and give as gifts. Haven't added the icing sugar as they are sweet enough. Might drizzle a bit of dark choc on them as a finishing touch.

TwinMummyMo's picture

Great recipe. Never make biscuits so this was uncharted waters for me but they worked out very well and I made two batches for a children's Xmas party and the feedback was very good ! I would recommend using small cutters though as they big ones aren't as easy to work with and break easier. I bought a small star one and got loads from one batch and I also think as they are quite sweet a small one is enough, you can always have two anyway !

acv2010's picture

I tried this recipe to day as a trial run for Christmas, and they were a disaster! I followed the recipe exactly, the mix was very floury but I persevered and got a dough in the end.

After 12 minutes in the oven they still looked pale and soft so I kept them in for closer to 20, then I started to gently transfer them to a wire rack and they just crumbled! I put them back in the oven but it was no use, I ended up with a pile of cookie crumbs. A couple that were salvageable just disintegrated in your mouth. I threw the second batch away without cooking them. Such a waste of time and expense :(

shireen3149's picture

Great recipe which worked a treat. They taste lovely and buttery and sweet..a touch of luxury.
Half the mixture made over 30 hearts, stars and flower shapes for grand-daughter's birthday. I'll freeze the rest of the dough for later. ..Christmas maybe?

Jessie M's picture

5 Stars! I've just made these and am so delighted with the result that I had to rate them straight away! Very easy recipe and the finished biscuits, to me, are like a shortbread cross with a vanilla biscuit. Will be making these for all occasions! Am also going to try adding a touch of almond extract next time.

missbobbish's picture

Wanting to make these quickly, and not wanting to wait for my butter to get to room temperature, I melted it in the microwave. I didnt have any problems with the dough being to crumbly.. so this may be the answer if you're not wanting to add milk to the mix.

burnbaby's picture

made these last year and the family couldn't get enough of them. Also made them for the children's school Christmas parties and was asked if there was any more as they ran out really quickly! Planning to make more this year with the children for them to give to their teacher's as gifts

highwaycrossingfrog's picture

I followed the recipe to a t and the biscuits came out perfectly. Very similar to shortbread in taste with a slightly less crumbly consistency. I experimented with size and thickness and came out with at least 30 biscuits ranging from about 2 to 6 cm diameter in snowflake shapes, and found the larger, thicker biscuits to be the best. Very easy to make the dough, even by hand rather than mixer, I did not find it to be too flaky as some have commented. Delicious and indulgent, they'll be a perfect Christmas gift, iced and decorated, for my neighbours. I'm sure I'll be making some for myself in the near future!

spookie_camp's picture

5 stars with our adaptations!

Add cinnamon to the cookie dough and nutmeg & cinnamon to the icing for a real taste of Christmas! Marbling the icing on the cookies gives a really nice look too.

Little ones and big ones alike will just love these wonderfully festive treats.

c10udy's picture

They were tasty, but expand very quickly in the oven and are much too buttery. I would put no more than 100g of butter personally

zanetta1's picture

These cookies are so yummy and moreish my partner loves them

venessam's picture

Fantastic biscuits - very much a beginner and these turned out so great my mother-in-law has asked for the recipe :)
Found the advice about adding milk very helpful

selenajoy's picture

Don't forget to keep them in an airtight bag or container as they go soft quickly. Great light shortbread-like texture to these biscuits though. I'll try lemon zest and juice in them next time.

selenajoy's picture

Poolio, I think almond would be lovely. I was not keen on the vanilla personally. I used a magimix food processor and did not need to add any more milk or water. I rolled out the dough on a floured surface, kept the rolling pin floured and sprinkled flour over the top of the dough before and during rolling. This all meant that the dough did not stick to the surface or pin. Keep turning the dough around, and turn it over a couple of times during the rolling for good effects. Also, try dividing the dough in half or thirds to roll out, which makes it easier.

This time I am making bitesize cookies. I might pipe some for a nice shape. Half vanilla covered in white chocolate and half with mixed spice, orange oil and orange zest.

sophieireland83's picture

They melt in the mouth. The true star of Ready Steady shines again!

whoopah's picture

oh dear...i bought almond extract instead of vanilla....would this be ok or would they taste like puke? im new to


Questions (2)

roefamily's picture

How long do these keep in an airtight container if made as gifts?

shireen3149's picture

Has anyone tried freezing these already iced? It says 'freezable' on the recipe.

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