Nana’s Christmas Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve!

Yesterday was my last day of work until January 9th! I am so pumped for two weeks off. Ando and I are about to head to my dad’s for Christmas dinner, possibly followed by our friend Cameron’s parents Christmas ham bun party (a tradition, and always so much fun), and then tomorrow we are celebrating with Andy-roo’s family. Fun times. My stretchy pants are laid out and ready for me.

So today I have been busy making my Nana‘s shortbread Christmas cookies!

My Nana made these every year when I was growing up, and I couldn’t get enough of them. These cookies taste like childhood to me :). I use her exact recipe, use the same cookie cutters she used to (well the stockings and the gingerbread men are new), and I try to ice them exactly how she used to.

Remember when I made them for Easter?

And I told you guys I was going to share the recipe, and then I never did? Yeah. Sorry about that.

Anyway, today I am sharing the recipe. They are seriously the best cookies I have ever tasted. Everyone who eats them also says they are the best cookies they have ever tasted. Even Andy’s grandma, and she is not the easiest to please.

They are a bit of work, but so, so worth it. I hope to make them every Christmas for the rest of my life, and hopefully one day my grandchildren will rave on about my Christmas cookies.

Please note, these are not healthy at all. I thought about healthifying them up slightly by using whole wheat flour and light butter or something, but I can’t bring myself to mess with them. They are just too perfect. They need to remain indulgent.

Nana’s Shortbread Christmas Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla (Nana says this is very important for flavour)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer.

2. Slowly sift in the flour.

3. Mix until dough “sqeaks” (Nana is very adamant that the dough must squeak!) Once I get to this point I usually use my hands to get the dough squeaking.

4. Roll out dough in 1 cup (ish) increments. This is very important: roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment paper. If you do not do this, your dough will stick to EVERYTHING. It will just be a big annoying mess. I was so frustrated the first time I made these, and then I found the beauty that is parchment paper, and all is well.

5. Once your dough is rolled flat (not too thin), put it in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. I always find it’s easier to work with chilled dough than warm dough, because warm dough, again, sticks to everything. It’s hard to get it out of the cookie-cutters when it’s too warm.

6. Bring a slab of dough out from the freezer and go to town with the cookie cutters!

(I usually put the scraps in a bowl and repeat the process so it doesn’t go to waste.)

7. Place each cookie on a baking sheet. I like to prick my cookies a few times with a fork, because my Nana used to, but I don’t know if that actually does anything.

Bake for about 9 minutes, but you should watch them after 7 minutes or so because they will brown really quickly and you do not want brown cookies.

8. Remove cookies from oven. Allow to cool.

While your cookies are cooling, you can make your icing! It is a very important part of the cookie.

I use my Nana’s recipe for this also:

Buttercream Icing


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (do not melt your butter, the icing will be too runny)
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • splash of milk (I do not measure this, but I would estimate maybe 1/4 cup. You don’t want to use a lot [I used too much in my above Easter cookies pic, and notice the icing looks a little runny], so I typically just use enough to get things moving).


1. Just mix until you have beautiful looking, delicious tasting icing.

Yes oh yes.

Once your cookies are cooled, ice them!

And then you eat them. 🙂

Enjoy! And let me know if you try them!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!


17 responses to “Nana’s Christmas Cookies

  1. These look amazing! Family recipes are always the best 🙂

  2. Merry Christmas! Glad you didn’t healthify the cookies. I baked chocolate chip cookies and ginger snaps today (lots of butter and sugar too)!

  3. I LOVE these cookies!! I’m going to try and make them between Christmas and New Years, since I didn’t get a chance beforehand. I can’t wait to eat them as they bring back such good memories of Nanny:) Merry Christmas!!

  4. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    Merry Christmas! 😀

  5. Nom. These look fantastic! Sugar cookies are just such a tasty cookie… like there are tons of different cookie recipes out there, but sometimes an original one with buttercream frosting is the way to go! 🙂

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  7. I love that you shared your Nana’s shortbread cookies! Nanas have the best family recipes to pass down 🙂

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  9. My grandma used to make sugar cookies each Christmas and those remind me of childhood. They were so great. They always had icing in different Christmas colours and sometimes they had those little hard silver balls on them. I made them one Christmas and they were awesome. I should do it again. Sigh… Good eatin’.

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