12 days of Christmas Cookies – Sugar Cookies with Autumn Walters

For today’s post, I invited one of my dear friends from Pure Barre, Autumn, to share her story. Autumn and I met one fateful day at the studio, and we were each other’s biggest cheerleaders as we attempted to hit 250 classes in one year. Over the years we have shared our love of Pure Barre, family, shared wedding visions, and most importantly: cookies!

From Autumn:

I immediately think of over decorating and baking cookies when I think of Christmas. My mom is basically the Oprah of Christmas cookies. After my mom is finished decorating the house, which gives Clark Griswold a run for his money, she starts on her cookies.

One of the best parts is it’s not just one or two types of cookies- she bakes at least 10 – 15 different recipes. I cannot imagine it was easy making all these cookies with five small people in the house. I’m not trying to point fingers, but she may be responsible for my serious sweet tooth!

With five children, my dad, and hundreds of cookies to make she hashed out a plan. My mom would take a few days off work and get up super early to start the first round of baking. The first round would always be made, put away, and cleaned up by the time we were waking up for school. Rude, considering I enjoy cookies for breakfast. After we left for school, she was at it again, rinse and repeat until they were all done.

She’s a master at plastic wrap and would wrap the packages so tightly (to do her best) to ensure 10 small hands didn’t have access. Somehow she’d always end up baking another batch or two of chocolate chips on Christmas Eve because they seemed to vanish; a mystery to this day.

Growing up, my favorites included chocolate chip, peanut butter balls, and sugar cookies. I’ve decided to share sugar cookies today. While I’d love to share my mom’s recipe, I’m sharing a modified version from Breezy Bakes. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I have a gluten allergy, but a little gluten isn’t going to stop this girl from getting her sweets! Enjoy!


For the cookies:

  • 1½ sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2⅓-2½ cups Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour

For the frosting:

  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup of butter, room temperature 
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of almond milk
  1. Begin making cookie dough by creaming together butter, sugar, and egg with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, scraping down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix until incorporated. Add baking powder and salt and mix until combined.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until well incorporated. Add remaining ⅓ cup flour and mix until dough begins to pull away from sides of the bowl. This should happen after about a minute of mixing. If it does not come together, add another 2-3 tablespoons of flour.
  3. Divide dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into about an 1″ thick disc on top of a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap plastic wrap around dough and chill for at least an hour up to overnight until solid.
  4. Remove dough from fridge, one disc at a time, 10 minutes prior to baking. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mat. Set aside.
  5. Generously dust counter top with flour and set disc on top. Dust top of dough with flour. Or you may roll dough in between parchment paper for easier cleanup, and you don’t have to add extra flour. Gently roll dough out to ⅛” thickness. Cut out desired shapes and transfer them with a thin spatula to baking sheet, placing cookies about 1½” apart. Reuse and reshape dough, flouring surface as needed until you have filled the baking sheet with cookies.
  6. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges are just turning golden brown. Remove and slide parchment paper with cookies onto a cooling rack to completely cool.* Repeat with remaining dough.
  7. Once cookies have completely cooled, make the frosting.
For the icing:
  1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.


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