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Taking on Tomorrow
Holiday Recipe: Holiday Cookies
December 19, 2023
Contributed by: Tony Au

As we approach the holidays, the cookie monster in me starts to think about all the sweet calories I’ll unapologetically devour.

Hey, it’s the holidays! Time to enjoy myself. Plus, I already have my New Year’s resolution ready to go: In 2024, I will not eat any more cookies, I won’t eat any less, but I promise to not eat any more…

My experience with holiday cookies is that sometimes they look so beautifully put together, but when I bite into them, they leave something to be desired. The cookie should have golden brown edges; a soft, velvety texture; but still have a firm chew when biting off a piece. It should have that balance of a sweet, buttery flavor and the right amount of frosting to round everything out. When you taste it, it should give you that feeling that one cookie just isn’t enough. You then start strategizing when you’ll circle back for your second in hopes that no one judges you.

After attempting several recipes and eating countless cookies, I’ve come across one that I believe achieves that. The best part is it’s an easy recipe with basic ingredients.

Last year, I took that recipe to a gathering and put a little twist on it. I baked the cookies and brought them to dinner with a bunch of store-bought frosting and sprinkles. I laid out a tablecloth and had all the kids decorate them. The kids had a blast, and most cookies were covered with so much frosting that it was hard to tell there was a cookie underneath. I realized then that the cookie was just a vessel to transport frosting and sprinkles from a kid’s hand to their mouth. The extra bonus was watching parents squirm as they witnessed the mess their kids were making on the table and on their faces. But the fun didn’t end there, I then had the teens and adults participate in their own cookie decorating contest. There was a time limit, people had to work in teams, and they had to tell a story behind their “works of art.” All the designs were intended to be PG-rated but somehow got interpreted differently. It was a fun activity for everyone, each cookie was beautiful in its own unique way, and just as important, all were delicious.

Here’s a picture of Jacob’s (5 years old) cookies. I’d share pictures of mine, but quite honestly, they weren’t much better.

Photo of Tony Au's Holiday Cookies

Photo courtesy Tony Au

I’m wishing you happy holidays and hoping that your next gathering is a fun and tasty one! Enjoy and let’s worry about the calories next year!

Holiday Cookies


  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat first egg into butter mixture. Beat second egg into mixture along with vanilla extract; add flour mixture and stir until dough is just combined. Wrap dough; chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Grease two cookie sheets.
  4. Roll out dough on a clean floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters; arrange them on the prepared cookie sheets. Gather scraps and repeat this step.
  5. Bake in batches in the preheated oven until edges are golden, about 8-10 minutes (do not overbake). Cool on the baking sheet briefly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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