Sugar Cookie Fun for the Holidays!

My girls (Lily, 6 and Mila, 3) woke up early on Sunday eagerly awaiting the annual decorating of our Christmas tree that stood freshly cut and bare in the living room.  It was a stormy day so we were happy to have a joyful activity to fill the morning hours. We slowly trimmed the tree, listening to holiday tunes and answering the many questions they had about where each ornament came from as the tree came to life.

The rain kept falling and we were in need of something fun to do. Making cookies is always a popular activity in our house and I had a fun sugar cookie project in the queue. The girls love to roll out dough,  cut it into shapes, and decorate. This Christmas light bulb sugar cookies craft I found on Foxy Fawni’s blog about Christmas crafts was sure to be a hit.

What you need:

  • Sugar cookie ingredients (see recipe below)
  • Vanilla frosting (I had a container of pre-made vanilla buttercream frosting I picked up at the store from The Frosting Queens.)
  • 3 cups M&M Mini chocolate candies (check the M&M website for store locator)
  • Drinking straw
  • Christmas light shaped cookie cutter (I ordered one from Etsy but also call your local bakery supply store)
  • Rolling pin(s)
  • Optional- 4 strands of licorice laces

We used the Holiday Sugar Cookie recipe from one of my favorite baking cookbooks- Flour by Joanne Chang. Joanne Chang is the owner of Flour bakeries in Boston, Ma. She has her B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard and soon after graduating realized that she loved baking cookies more than anything else. Her recipes are delightful (never too sweet) and I have never been able to mess any of them up!




Holiday Sugar Cookies by Joanne Chang

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream sugar and butter for 5 min until light and fluffy (I used a hand-mixer but a wooden spoon will work, although it may take longer to cream). Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2-3 min until combined.

In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder & salt until well mixed. On low speed, slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and them mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough evenly mixed. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour until firm enough to roll out.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(Great time to get the kids working!) separate different colors of mini M&M’s into 6  different bowls. 

Put on your aprons- it is about to get messy! Lightly flour your work surface, place dough on the surface and flour the dough and rolling pin. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick and make your Christmas Light Bulb cut outs. Transfer to a baking sheet and using a drinking straw press a hole at the top of each cookie.

Bake 12-15 min until cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale in the center. Cool completely. Decorate by first adding a smooth layer of vanilla butter cream frosting and then add the M&M minis one color per cookie (see the above photo). Loop a ribbon or licorice rope through the holes.


1. I like to make a double batch of cookie dough and freeze the second portion for rainy days.

2. Make sure your light bulb dough cutouts are 1/4 inch or thinner. When we made them too thick they spread too much in the oven and looked like blobs.

3. Have a wonderful holiday!

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