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WHAT’S FOR A FUN HOLIDAY TREAT?

Christmas Light Sugar Cookies

/5
Christmas light sugar cookies on a cooling rack
COOK TIME
8 min
TOTAL TIME
38 min + chill time
SERVINGS
20-24 cookies
Christmas light sugar cookies made with mini M&Ms
Christmas light sugar cookies with Hiland Dairy butter and cream cheese

I love these little Christmas light sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting. They are one of my favorite DIY kid-friendly Christmas cookies. They are super simple and you can make everything from scratch or grab a few things at the store and be ready to go (which is super helpful during the busy holiday season).

I use my favorite sugar cookie recipe for these easy cookies then of course pair them with my easy and delicious cream cheese frosting and mini M&Ms to look light string lights. It’s really the perfect combo!

I use Hiland Dairy for all the dairy ingredients in both the cookie and the frosting. They are the absolute best and I don’t use anything else in my baking.

After the cookies and frosting are made then all you need to do is decorate. They’re easy to do and fun to make!

Whether you’re baking with your kids this holiday or want to throw a cookie decorating party, these Christmas Light Sugar Cookies are a perfect match.

What is the Best Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe?

I’m biased, but I think my sugar cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie. This dough is super versatile. You can use them to make these Christmas light cookies but can also cut them into any shape you want!

They’re the perfect foundation for your favorite frosting and other toppings because they’re delicious without being too sweet. These cookies also include a bit of almond extract in addition to the traditional vanilla extract, which I think gives them a really unique flavor.

Topped with cream cheese frosting and mini M&Ms turned on their side to look like Christmas lights, these cookies are definitely my pick for the best sugar cookies! Ready to make them for yourself? It’s time to gather up your ingredients and start baking!

Ingredients for Christmas Light Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These cookies are easy to make and don’t include a bunch of fancy ingredients. You probably already have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge! But if you’re looking for an even easier solution, just buy pre-made dough and store-bought frosting!

Ingredients for the Cookie Dough

  • Hiland Butter: You can really use any brand of butter, but I swear by Hiland Dairy. There’s is so thick, creamy and delicious!
  • Granulated Sugar: These wouldn’t be sugar cookies without plenty of sugar! Stick with regular white granulated sugar for the most traditional flavor.
  • Egg: You only need one egg for this recipe, so it’s a great option if you’re low on ingredients. Make sure the egg is room temperature before baking with it.
  • Vanilla Extract: This is one of the traditional ingredients in almost any cookie recipe. Adding vanilla extract adds a lovely layer of flavor to these simple sugar cookies.
  • Almond Extract: It’s not as common to find almond extract in a sugar cookie recipe, but I love the unique flavor it gives the cookies.
  • All-Purpose Flour: You probably already have this in your pantry! Regular all-purpose flour is perfect for these cookies.
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder acts as a leavening agent in cookies, creating a light and fluffy texture. It contains both an acid (cream of tartar) and a base (usually baking soda), producing carbon dioxide when activated by moisture and heat that makes cookies rise and become tender.
  • Salt: You can’t make something sweet without a little bit of salt.

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Hiland Cream Cheese: Of course I’m recommending HIland Dairy products again. Their cream cheese is the absolute best, but you can also use whatever brand you prefer.
  • Hiland Butter: This cream cheese frosting is basically a cream cheese buttercream, so it’s important to use the best quality butter possible. Hiland Dairy butter is my pick.
  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is the only sweetener in this cream cheese frosting – and it’s plenty sweet enough!
  • Vanilla Extract: Once again, vanilla extract adds a lovely flavor to this cream cheese frosting.
  • Kosher Salt: There’s almost nothing better than a bite of cream cheese frosting with a sweet-and-salty flavor.

How to Make Christmas Light Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting and M&Ms

Christmas light sugar cookies with Hiland Dairy butter and cream cheese

Start with the Sugar Cookie Dough:

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with Silpat or nonstick spray.

Step Two: Beat the room temperature butter on high until it’s smooth, then add the sugar and beat again until it becomes light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and mix again until all the ingredients are combined.

Step Three: In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add half to the wet ingredients and mix until they are just combined. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix again.

Step Four: Roll the dough out on top of floured parchment paper, aiming for ¼ inch thickness. Rolling the dough thinner will make for a crunchier cookie. Cover the dough with more parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Step Five: Take your dough out of the fridge and use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. I used plain circles, but you could also make Christmas light sugar cookies out of tree shapes or wreaths.

Step Six: Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes then place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

*Pro Tip: The less time you leave the cookies in, the softer they will be. I like to bake mine for about 8 minutes.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Step One: Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter together until they are smooth or creamy.

Step Two: Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing until combined after each addition.

Step Three: Add the vanilla and salt and mix on medium-high speed until creamy. Test it for taste and consistency and add more powdered sugar if needed.

Step Four: Frost the cooled cookies with cream cheese frosting and set aside.

Decorate Your Christmas Light Sugar Cookies

Decorating is the best part of these holiday sugar cookies! And it’s super easy to do.

Step One: Mix a heaping spoonful of cream cheese frosting with black food color and mix until smooth.

Step Two: Use a pastry bag or Ziploc with the tip cut off to pipe swooping lines onto the cookies – these will be the strings for your lights!

Step Three: Place the mini M&Ms along the light strands, placing them vertically so they are standing tall and look thin like Christmas lights. Use just red and green or all different colors to make each cookie unique!

*Pro Tip: If you don’t have black food coloring or don’t want to deal with a piping bag, you can also buy a small tube of black icing made for decorating cookies. They should sell these at your local grocery store!

Christmas light sugar cookies on a cooling rack

Christmas Light Sugar Cookie FAQs

Why do you have to chill sugar cookie dough?

There are a few reasons why chilling cookie dough is so important, especially for cut-out cookies like these Christmas light sugar cookies. First, chilling the dough lets fats (like the butter) solidify. This keeps the cookies from spreading too much during baking and ensures that they keep their shape. Chilling the dough also makes it more firm and easier to handle when you’re cutting out your shapes.

How do you know when sugar cookies are done?

Overbaked sugar cookies are just the worst! To ensure you bake your sugar cookies perfectly every time, look for edges that look firm and that are just beginning to look golden-brown. Keep in mind that if you wait for the whole cookie to look golden-brown, they’ve probably been baking too long. Another good sign that a sugar cookie is done baking is called “sheen loss.” Look for the loss of the glossy sheen that raw cookie dough has. When that sheen disappears the cookies are most likely done.

For these cookies, I’ve found that baking for 8 minutes is perfect for soft, chewy cookies. Up to 10 minutes also works if you prefer a crunchier cookie.

What kind of baking sheet is best for sugar cookies?

For baking sugar cookies, the best baking sheet is a shiny aluminum sheet. Shiny surfaces promote even browning and prevent cookies from sticking, ensuring easy cleanup. I also like to spray my baking sheets with nonstick spray or use a silicone baking mat to ensure nothing sticks.

How long do cookies need to cool before frosting?

You want your cookies to be room temperature before adding the cream cheese frosting. I typically recommend waiting at least an hour for a simple cookie design like these Christmas light cookies. If you’re doing anything with smaller, more intricate details, it’s best to let the cookies cool overnight to ensure your designs come out clearly and don’t melt.

Ready to bake more holiday cookies? Try these other favorites:

 

If you give these Christmas light sugar cookies a try be sure to let me know! Follow me over on Facebook and Instagram @lolohomekitchen. Snap a pic if you make a Lolo’s recipe and tag it with #lolohk. I love to see what you are making!

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Christmas light sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting

Christmas Light Sugar Cookies

The perfect sugar cookie made with Hiland Dairy ingredients topped with the best cream cheese frosting then transformed into a super fun Christmas Cookie. Super easy to make and a great activity to do with your kiddos!

 

Christmas light sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting

Prep time: 30 min + chill time  |  Cook time: 8 min  |  Total: 38 min + chill time

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Ingredients

Cookies

3/4 cup Hiland Butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

2 blocks (16 ounces) Hiland Cream Cheese

1 stick Hiland Butter

33 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Black food coloring or gel

M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter on high until it’s smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat again on high for 2-3 minutes, until it becomes light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract, and mix again until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until just combined. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just combined again. If your dough looks super sticky, just add another tablespoon of flour.
  4. On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness. If you want a crunchier cookie, just roll the dough thinner. Cover your dough with another piece of parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is chilled, grab your cookie cutters and go to town. Place your shapes onto a lightly greased or Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. I prefer 8 minutes because they will be softer, but leave them in longer for a crunchier cookie. Place on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before you frost and decorate.
  6. Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  7. Add the vanilla and salt and mix on medium to high until creamy. Taste it to see if it needs more powdered sugar for sweetness/thickness.
  8. Frost cooled cookies with cream cheese frosting and set aside.
  9. In a small bowl, place a heaping spoonful of cream cheese frosting plus a few drops of black food coloring or gel. Mix until smooth.
  10. Use a pastry bag or Ziploc with the tip cut off. Place black frosting into bag and pipe swooping lines onto cookies.
  11. Place different colored M&Ms on top of the black lines to make your Christmas lights!

Notes

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