Photo of Holiday sugar cookies by WW

Holiday sugar cookies

Total Time
29 min
20 min
9 min
Baking and decorating sugar cookies during the holidays are a family tradition for many, and this recipe should certainly be added to your to-bake list. You can decorate these cookies with the icing recipe included or feel free to experiment with colored sugar crystals and glittery sprinkles. Chilling the cookie dough before baking helps firm up the fat, which means it melts more slowly, preventing the cookies from spreading too much. Thirty minutes is a good minimum chill time to minimize spread, but the longer the dough refrigerates, the less the cookies will spread and the more concentrated the flavor becomes.



1 cup(s)

Reduced-calorie margarine

½ cup(s), at room temperature


1 large egg(s), lightly beaten

Light corn syrup

¼ cup(s)

Fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp

Vanilla extract

1 Tbsp

All-purpose flour

2¾ cup(s)

Baking powder

¾ tsp

Baking soda

½ tsp

Table salt

½ tsp

Ground cardamom

½ tsp, if desired

Egg white(s)

2 large

Powdered sugar (confectioner's)

2 cup(s), lightly packed


  1. In mixer on medium, beat sugar and margarine together until crumbly. Add 1 egg, corn syrup, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until smooth and pale in color.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Slowly beat flour mixture into margarine mixture until blended. Divide dough into four equal parts and flatten each quarter to form a round. Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Lightly spray baking sheet(s) with cooking spray. On a lightly floured board roll out one round to 1/4-1/8 inch thickness. With a lightly floured Christmas tree cookie cutter (about 2 inches tall), cut out cookies and transfer them, about 2 inches apart, to baking sheet(s); repeat with remaining dough.
  5. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 5 to 9 minutes. Remove from the oven; cool completely.
  6. For Royal Icing, in a large bowl whip egg whites and powdered sugar at low speed until sugar is moistened. Beat at high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Divide icing depending on how many colors you want to use. Add food coloring to achieve desired tint. To decorate cookies place icing in a small plastic bag; snip a tiny hole off one corner of the bag. Pipe icing onto the cooled cookies to create tree-trimming designs and ornaments. Yields 24 trees.