Christmas Lights Sugar Cookies

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These Christmas Lights Sugar Cookies start with the best chewy sugar cookies and are then topped with a powdered sugar icing plus simple decorations. Add a dusting of powdered sugar for that winter wonderland feeling!

It’s time to make cookies for holiday gatherings! Try some White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, Best Cut Out Sugar Cookies, and these Brownie Crinkle Cookies!

A sugar cookie with white icing and a string of lights.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I am ALL ABOUT sugar cookies during the holidays. While I occasionally like the fuss of Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, I generally prefer the no-nonsense ones best. You know, the ones that don’t always look professional but taste great!

These cookies are the later. They are simple with a basic powdered sugar icing plus a few extra ingredients for decorating. If I can make cookies look pretty, YOU can too!

This recipe uses my momma’s Chewy Sugar Cookies that I’ve been making for years. They are on the thin side, so you can definitely test them by baking just one and then deciding if you want to add more flour.

The decorations are just a simple icing and a simple way to add “Christmas lights”. Note the word SIMPLE!

A partial plate of Christmas lights decorated on sugar cookies.

What You’ll Need:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Cream of Tartar

For the icing – Just a simple combo of melted butter, vanilla, half and half, and powdered sugar.

How to Make Chewy Sugar Cookies:

Step 1
Make the dough. Cream butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix again. Then add the dry ingredients – the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and flour – and mix until just combined.

Step 2
Form cookie balls. Use a cookie scoop to form balls and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Step 3
Bake. Bake for just 10-11 minutes to ensure a soft inside. Let them sit on the pan for 5-7 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

You can fix cookies that over-spread by taking them out of the oven a few minutes early and using a spoon to gently push the edges in. Then pop them back in the oven to finish baking!

How to Decorate Christmas Lights Sugar Cookies:

Step 1
Make icing. Melt the butter in medium bowl. Add vanilla and half and half and stir. Add powdered sugar and use a hand mixer to combine well. Adjust as needed for desired consistency.

Step 2
Add icing. Spread a thin layer of icing to each cooled sugar cookie.

Step 3
Draw Christmas light strings. Place melting chocolate in a glass dish. Melt in microwave at 50% power until creamy. Add the chocolate to a small bag. Clip off the tip of the bag and carefully draw the strings across each cookie.

Step 4
Add lights. Then push the halved m&ms into the cookies as soon as the chocolate is added to each cookie (before the chocolate sets). Add a dusting of powdered sugar to the tops of the cookies.

Let cookies sit on wire racks so the frosting sets up completely.

Cookie Baking Tips:

  • Use room temperature butter and eggs to up your cookie game. This allows the ingredients to form an emulsion which traps air. While baking, this trapped air expansionists to produce a fluffier cookie. Using cold ingredients will prevent this magic from happening.
  • Chill your dough. This will allow the fat in the cookies to chill and firm up. When baking, this chilled fat will prevent an over-spreading of the cookies. The resting time will also allow the flour to soak up the liquids in the dough. When the cookies are fully-hydrated, they brown better, bake more evenly, and have a more complex flavor.
  • Bake your cookies to YOUR preference. If you like your cookies darker, bake them longer. If you like them gooey, then slightly under-bake them. You do you!
  • Bake one batch at a time. If using a regular oven, baking one batch at a time is recommended for more even baking. If using a convection oven, you can bake two batches at a time.
Side view of a sugar cookie decorated with lights.

Instead of using my mom’s sugar cookie recipe, I also recommend my new Brown Butter Sugar Cookies as the base.

Recipe Tips and Options:

  • I suggest baking the sugar cookies and then freezing them. Then take them out of the freezer, let thaw slightly, and decorate for your holiday platters.
  • You can also fully decorate these and do a quick freeze. Just place them on baking sheets in single layers, freeze for 30-40 minutes, and then stack and freeze for later.
  • Instead of using the melting chocolate for the “strings”, you could use some icing and use food coloring to dye it.
  • Another option is to add food coloring to the icing for different colored backgrounds. The sky if the limit.
Overhead shot of a plate of iced sugar cookies decorated with Christmas lights.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A closeup shot of an iced ornament sugar cookie.

Christmas Lights Sugar Cookies

These Christmas Lights Sugar Cookies start with the best chewy sugar cookies and are then topped with a powdered sugar icing plus simple decorations. Add a dusting of powdered sugar for that winter wonderland feeling!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 18 cookies
Calories: 311kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the sugar cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter – softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg – at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the icing:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons half and half
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar – more or less – to desired consistency

For decorations:

  • 4 oz. melting dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup mini m&ms – halved
  • a light dusting of powdered sugar – optional

Instructions

For the sugar cookies:

  • In a large standing mixer, cream the butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla and mix.
  • Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar) to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Use a cookie scoop to form cookie balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Refrigerator for at least two hours to chill.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookie balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (about six on one pan).
  • Bake each batch for approximately 10-11 minutes or until light golden brown on top.
  • Let cookies cool slightly before removing to baking sheets to cool completely.

For decorating:

  • Make icing. Melt the butter in medium bowl. Add vanilla and half and half and stir. Add powdered sugar and use a hand mixer to combine well. Adjust as needed for desired consistency.
  • Add icing. Spread a thin layer of icing to each cooled sugar cookie.
  • Draw Christmas light strings. Place melting chocolate in a glass dish. Melt in microwave at 50% power until creamy. Add the chocolate to a small bag. Clip off the tip of the bag and carefully draw the strings across each cookie.
  • Add lights. Then push the halved m&ms into the cookies as soon as the chocolate is added to each cookie (before the chocolate sets). Add a light dusting of powdered sugar to the cookies.
  • Let cookies sit on wire racks so the frosting sets up completely.

Notes

  • I suggest baking the sugar cookies and then freezing them. Then take them out of the freezer, let thaw slightly, and decorate for your holiday platters.
  • You can also fully decorate these and do a quick freeze. Just place them on baking sheets in single layers, freeze for 30-40 minutes, and then stack and freeze for later.
  • Instead of using the melting chocolate for the “strings”, you could use some icing and use food coloring to dye it.
  • Another option is to add food coloring to the icing for different colored backgrounds. The sky if the limit.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

2 Comments

  1. I love the pro tip of freezing them! Eating this cookie frozen is the bomb!

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