Santa Cookies

Santa Cookies


Here's a crazy idea that just might be brilliant: This year, leave the plate of cookies for Santa in his own image.
  • 3 c. (360 g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. (200 g.) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 c. (570 g.) powdered sugar
  • ¼ c. whole milk
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • Red food coloring, red sanding sugar, and red and brown mini M&M's, for decorating
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  3. Divide dough in half and place one-half between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment. Roll to a scant ¼"-thick round. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Cut out shapes of dough with a 4½" Santa-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1" apart. Freeze 5 minutes.
  6. Bake cookies until edges are lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
  8. In a large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Add milk, vanilla, and salt and beat until well combined.
  9. Transfer two-thirds of buttercream to a piping bag or resealable plastic bag fitted with a small star tip. Whisk a few drops of red food coloring into remaining buttercream.
  10. Using a small offset spatula, spread red buttercream over tops of cookies to create the hat. Dip into sanding sugar, pressing to smooth and adhere.
  11. Using short piping motions, pipe stars of white buttercream onto cookies to create a beard and ball on each cap. Press 1 red M&M into the beard for a nose. Using small amounts of buttercream, secure brown M&M's onto each cookie to create eyes.

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