Cheery marbled Christmas cut-out cookies to bake and eat

by Andrea Potischman on December 18, 2020

And so we approach our first COVID Christmas. Who could ever imagined this is where we would be? Cookie season is in full swing, yet to be honest, my spirits are nowhere near where they typically are this time of year. I don’t feel particularly festive. Many are back in lockdown, gatherings are not permitted and risk is high. This year is different and I can’t sugar-coat it. With this in mind I decided to simplify things a bit this holiday season, at least cookie-wise.

Pandemic aside, my love of cookies remains strong, so a cookie post was inevitable no matter what. These are my marbled Christmas cut-out cookies and they could not be easier to make. A simply, buttery sugar cookie, lightly par-baked with a marbled icing. No, red hots, sprinkles or chocolate jimmies to complicate things, just delicious cookies that are mesmerizing just to look at.

Despite the simplicity, what I love most about these marbled Christmas cookies is any shape, size, or marble color combination works. Unlike most holiday cut-out cookies, these are not labor intensive. The dough whips us easily and can be doubled without issue.

These cookies bake perfectly with a tender, buttery inside and slightly crispy edge and the you can get as creative as you wish with your color platte. I call them Christmas cookies, but truthfully, they can work for any holiday including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Easter, Valentine’s Day, even the 4th of July, not many cookie recipes can boast that.

These marbled cookies also make a great project for kids that love to bake, and the best part, they are forgiving, there is no wrong or bad way to marble a cookie.

Like many others, I am wishing for many things for Christmas this year. I have always been a hopeful and optimistic person, so I won’t give up on that just yet. But I can’t control things no matter how hard I try. So my simple wish is that families to come together virtually and bake together, spend time together (even if from a distance), and most of all appreciate each other and all that one has, which in so many cases, is a good amount. Happy holidays friends!

For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Marbled Icing:

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk divided
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring of your choice
  1. In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, add the butter and sugar and beat until lighter and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat until blended.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the flour and salt and mix until incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough equally into 2 parts and using yours hands, shape each piece into a flat disk. Wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight if prepping in advance).
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to warm up slightly. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  6. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, and working with one dough disk at a time, roll out the dough to the desired thickness. Cut the dough using cookie-cutter shapes of your choice.
  7. Put the cut-outs on the prepare baking sheets, place in the oven and bake till set, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove the cookies from the baking pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  9. For the Icing: In a medium mixing bowl add the confectioners’ sugar. 4 tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined and no lumps remain. The icing will be rather thick at this point.\
  10.   Add 1/2 teaspoon of milk at a time until the icing has reached the consistency of condensed milk. Sometimes icing can be tricky. If needed, add more milk too thin out the icing or add more powdered sugar to make it thicker.
  11.  Pour half of the glaze into a small shallow bowl, making sure the diameter of the bowl is larger than the largest cookie you have. Cover the remaining half with plastic wrap to avoid a hard shell forming on top.
  12.   Place one drop of food coloring in the center of the icing. Use a toothpick and swirl it through the glaze making circles. Be sure not to mix the glaze too much or the glaze could turn into a solid color.
  13.   To glaze a cookie: Hold onto the cookie by the edges and turn it upside down. Dip the top of the cookie into the glaze, being sure the glaze covers the entire surface of the cookie. Lift the cookie straight up out of the glaze and hold it above bowl for a few seconds allowing the excess glaze to drip off. Once the glaze stops dripping, flip the cookie over and place it back on the cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining cookies making any additional color of icing you desire.
  14.   Allow the cookies to fully dry for about 10-12 hours before packing/storing them.

Menlo Park resident Andrea Potischman shares recipes on her website Simmer and Sauce.

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