Super Secret Christmas Cookie and Frosting Recipes

As my sincerest, most joy-filled thank you to my readers and dear author friends who have supported the release of Navy Christmas and Navy Joy in Coming Home for Christmas, may I present my most closely-held family recipe! If I could have sent a dozen of these to each of the military and their family that you helped me send books to, I would have. Enjoy!

Misha Guards the Cookies

Geri’s Christmas Cut-Outs

This recipe is a combination of my Polish-American Grandmother’s huge cut-out cookies, and my mother’s Christmas cookies, topped with my aunt’s incredible frosting.

Sour Cream Cut-Outs

(very loosely adapted from Southern Living’s Sour Cream Cookies in their Christmas Cookies book of 1986):

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

1 cup sugar (I like to use turbinado or raw cane but white is best for special occasions)

1 egg

1 8-oz container of sour cream

2 tsps anise flavoring (all natural is best)  note: my grandmother’s original recipe says “use 39 cents worth of anise.”

4-5 cups flour (I use King Arthur Unbleached but Whole Wheat Pastry flour works fab, too)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, anise, sour cream. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, add to wet mix very slowly but make sure to mix well. You will need extra flour later, for rolling out dough. Divide the dough into thirds and chill for at least an hour. I usually make the dough a few days before I am ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll dough onto floured surface to ¼” and cut out in desired shapes (you can go thinner but they won’t be as scrumptious, plus you want a substantial cookie to hold the frosting). These cookies will rise and expand in the oven so leave enough room between them on the cookie sheet. Place cut-outs on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes depending upon thickness. They are done when very lightly browned. Cool on racks before frosting. Sometimes I don’t get to the frosting until the next day, that’s okay– just make sure you store in an airtight or foil-topped container.


Aunt Margie’s Frosting

 ½ cup milk

1 tbsp cornstarch

Mix the above 2 ingredients and cook in medium saucepan until it thickens. Stir in:

1 tsp vanilla

 Cool thoroughly.

Pour into

½ c. butter (softened)

1 lb. confectioner’s sugar

Beat with a hand mixer (or stand) until creamy. Divide up as desired and color with food coloring. White with different colored sprinkles is always a hit. Frosting will set as it dries on the cookies. We set up a cookie decorating workshop and I put my family to task (since I’ve done all of the baking). They can decorate 12 dozen inside of 90 minutes!


159 Comments on “Super Secret Christmas Cookie and Frosting Recipes

  1. Congratulations on your excellent work. Going to buy ingredients tomorrow to try the cookies!


    1. I’m so glad, Jeannie. I love these cookies, and it means a lot to share them–it’s like giving you a taste of my Christmas!

  2. Your cookies look yummy and pink. I remember making cut-out cookies with Grandma Mary, rolling, the farm animal plus star and wreath cookie cutters and then the best part was decorating. We had small bowls of frosting tinted with food coloring and put sprinkle, cinnamon hots or silver little balls on the tree cookies. Keeping them in boxes with wax paper between layers, we peeked a lot to check on our favorites. I love that you have sour cream in the recipe because it tastes so much better and gives an air of mystery to the cookies. I have an old cookbook where the baker added 1/4 cup sour cream to a regular recipe and wrote right on the page. My mouth is watering already.

  3. Those cookies sound amazing, I might have to try making them. I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.

  4. These sound delicious. I will be taking this recipe to our annual family cookie making day. We always make family tradition cookies and a few new ones. I think these will be a big hit Thank you. The granddaughters will especially be excited to try these. Always enjoy finding another book to read too!

  5. These cookies sound delicious. Sour cream adds a different character to baked goods. They are a bit lighter and less sweet, in a good way. I will have to try these this year.
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. We are retired Air Force. It is nice to settle down, but we do miss the military life.

  6. Your cookies are beautiful. I wish I could make them but I have mobility issues and just can’t. I guess it is better for my waistline but I just love to cook. Thank you for sharing.

  7. We love to make cut-out cookies and will surely try out this recipe this year. Very similar to our secret family recipe.

  8. Thank you for sharing the recipe. It is always neat to see those little notes. It is amazing how much times have changed

    1. Hi Vicki–Anise is a wonderful extract that smells like black licorice. You can use almond extract or vanilla if you prefer.

  9. Thanks for that tasty sounding recipe. I’ve never used sour cream in a cookie recipe before. I love that your grandmother’s recipe says to use 39 cents worth of anise. Oh how times have changed.

  10. Wow. Great sounding cookies. Think I’ll make my daughter try them. She is a much better baker than I.

  11. I have a similar recipe but use almond extract instead of anise
    your dog is beautiful.I grew up with a shepard
    we now rescue goldens

  12. Geri, do you think almond extract in place of the anise would taste ok? I have everything else on hand. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hi Robin,
      I think almond extract would be fine, but of course I love almond anything! The anise does give it that extra-Christmas-y aroma and taste, however I’ve used vanilla when overseas and in a bind. Good luck!


  14. Love the picture of the cookies. They are so pretty and seem to pretty to eat,but that won’t stop me from eating them.

    1. I usually double the recipe and end up with at least 12 dozen, so I’d say 6 dozen, depending upon the size of your cut-outs.

  15. Thnk you! Thank You!. Finally a cookie recipe that does not contain peanuts or choclate. I have asthma and they are two of the things I am allergic to and cannot eat. The cookie look delicious.

  16. I am so going to try these cookies this year. I make cutouts every year and I have never tried a recipe with sour cream (have tried the cream cheese one). Sounds yummy, thanks for sharing!

  17. I’m going to have to try these this year, always looking for a good sugar cookie!!

  18. Ohhhhhhhhh these look and sound lovely. I am always making things for work I am going to have to gives these a try. Thank you so much for sharing and giving us such wonderful books to read.

  19. Thanks for the family recipe and the giveaway. The icing in particular looks great! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  20. I love secret recipes, and the frosting looks divine. Thanks for the giveaway and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  21. These cookies sound really good and easy. Will be trying them when I bake cutouts with my granddaughter and her cousin. I think they will have fun with these!

  22. I have to honest with you. I got SUPER excited when I saw the recipe. But as someone who only can aspire to bake, I go deflated when I realized I have no idea what anise is.

    But I think I’m going to attempt to give these a try.

  23. These look wonderful, I’m going to have so much fun trying to make these with my 2 year old daughter.

  24. I’m always looking for good recipes, these look fantastic. Hope you have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.

  25. OMG! They sound so decadent and look so yummy. Thank you for posting these recipes. I am definitely going to have to give these a try. I LOVE sour cream dounts and cake, so to have a cookie version … mmm, mmm yum!

  26. What a great sounding recipe…think I will try them. I have a collection of my grandmother’s recipes ( the ones she wrote down) in which she will have written about a ” pinch of something or a handful of flour or a dash of salt” ….she had her way of measuring without a lot of kitchen tools like we use today.

  27. So delectable and perfect. I keep a journal filled with my mother’s recipes and each year realize how fortunate I am and then I give them to family and friends and make a special feast with the cookies as a treat.

  28. Your cookies sounds delicious, but I usually make drop cookies. They just seem easier to make.

  29. My Mother-in-Law is the baker in our family. I will definitely be giving her a copy of these Sour Cream Cut-Outs so I can enjoy them this Christmas 🙂

  30. Just in time…we are baking cookies this weekend and I’ll have to try this recipe. The cookies look delicious and pretty.

  31. Wow They sound great and I love the fact that they are past down. A lot of the cookie recipes I use are past down through the generations. Thank You for sharing.

  32. wow these sound really good. I’m gonna have to save this recipe to try out after the holidays. Too much going on till after then

  33. Sounds yummy! I love black licorice so the anise flavoring is of particular interest to me. The measurement ($0.39 cents worth) is hilarious. It would be interesting to see how much that was back then vs now 🙂

  34. Thank you for sharing your family recipe. These cookies sound delicious! I’ve never tried to make frosted cookies before, but I’m going to give these a try!

  35. The cookies look wonderful and I so love cookies made with sour cream and they will be a new addition to my cookie tray. Thank you so much. Blessed Thanksgiving Lois

  36. My mom always made cookies similar to these when I was little. She lost the recipe and I’ve never found a recipe as good. I’ll have to give this one a try.fingers crossed.

  37. lmao at the fact that she puts cents worth instead of an actual amount / weight…. like they never expected costs to go up… my grandmother never wrote recipes…. she knew just by feel and sight too

  38. I am going to make these with the grandkids we are going to love these Thank you for the recipe

  39. I got this recipe from someone who gave it to me , I do believe they did get it from your site. They take a little more work but are OMG so worth it!!! Thank you for sharing.

  40. These sound pretty close to my Grandmother’s. Amazing how that works out! Thank you so much for sharing!

  41. I love Christmas cookies & I’m going to make my first batch tomorrow night. They are my down fall. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.
    Thanks for the chance.

  42. They look fabulous! I’m not a big anise fan, though. I wonder how it would be with almond instead?

  43. Family and friends get together for a weekend to bake about 24 kinds of Christmas cookies, We always try some new kinds. This one looks good for this year.

  44. Cookies. Got to have lots of cookies for the winter season. From thanksgiving through January. Cookies and hot chocolate or tea or coffee, they warm the heart.


  46. Cookie recipe looks great, although I might try a different flavor. Anise isn’t my favorite. Happy Holidays!

  47. Those cookies look so delicious and I know just who to enlist to help make these cookies the week after Christmas, my granddaughter who just turned 15. Thank you for all your writings. Looking forward to becoming more familiar with your books. Happy holidays!

  48. Some of my very favorite cookies, year round are made with sour cream. They are so moist and seem to handle and store well when you have to make up trays of them for family gatherings and parties. I always try to make at least one sour cream cookie recipe each season. Thank you for sharing.
    Cynthia Blain

  49. Anise….one of my favorite spices! I use it all the time. Have you ever tried it in your pot roast? You will not be disappointed! Adds a piquancy you are not expecting!

  50. I’m always on the lookout for a new cookie to add to my repertoire, and just might have found it!! Your cookies are so appealing to me, and I like the idea that you don’t have to make them right away!! My late Mother’s cookies are the same way, and use sour cream in her recipe, too!! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming year!!

  51. These sound really good. I’ll have to search for anise flavoring, but I have a few ideas where to start looking. Thanks for sharing!

  52. Thank you for sharing your family recipe, I’ve been saying that I need to start baking again, so I’m saving this recipe and will attempt to make them just as pretty and hopefully just as delicious

  53. I love baking Christmas cookies. It’s not Christmas without sugar cookies and spritz. I always bake at least one new recipe. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  54. How wonderful to find your recipe Geri! I had two Polish American grandmothers who were great cookie makers. Thanks for sharing your recipe…I will make them for Christmas.

  55. Sorry Geri! I can think of only one person in my family who’d like these; my mom! She’s wild about licorice-anything. While I love to bake, I’m not sure I’d make these, since I can’t even stand the smell of anise. Still, maybe as a treat for her…My 2 favorite Christmas cookie recipes are a type of spicy butter cookie: one with cardamom, one with clove.

  56. This sounds like a great recipe, the sour cream and anise will stop it from being the usual blah sugar cookie ;-). I will have to figure out what 39 cents worth is in today’s measurement.

    Thanks for the recipe and the giveaway.

  57. These sound just heavenly — will give them a try — adore the .39 cents worth of Anise!!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  58. These will be great to bake with my granddaughters. They will get very creative with decorating! Thanks for sharing your recipe and your talent.

  59. How wonderful that you have recipes handed down from loving family members! We have a fun tradition that helps to keep those precious recipes through the generations. A recipe card is mailed along with a bridal shower invitation. Not only does the bride start her marriage with a collection of family recipes, but she also has those recipes written in the hand of the giver. These cards become treasures!

  60. Why is it loosely interpreted? sounds like it has all the ingredients that are needed

    Thanks for sharing the recipe

    1. Congrats, Nancy! You are the winner of the Christmas/Holiday reader gift bag. Please email me privately through the contact form on this site and I’ll get your prize out to you! Peace, Geri

  61. i have to comment on Misha, there should be a balloon over her head that says,”just take that camera off me for a minute, will ya?”.

  62. My NAVY hubby (who will retire at the end of Jan. ’16) loves Cut-Out cookies. He makes them every Christmas. He makes Peanut Blossom cookies as well. My favs.! Thanks, Geri, to you and your hubby for your service. The hubs and I would love to read some of your NAVY books. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  63. Thank you for sharing your family recipes with us. These look and sound delicious. Thank you for the chance to win some of your wonderful books!!

  64. Thank you for sharing your family recipes with us being as i grew up in a foster home there are no recipes from the family. So I just love these kind that ones send.

  65. Oh – they look delicious.
    I must try to make them with indegredients available here in Germany.

  66. Mmmmm….my mouth is watering just reading this. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never used sour cream in a cookie and this looks delicious. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving with friends and family.

  67. These are some huge cookies. My family will love them. I think I will try them for thanksgiving and Christmas.

  68. I absolutely love these cookies! They don’t last more than a day in my house. They put a smile on my children’s and husband’s face every time. Thank you so much.

  69. Sounds like something that I would like to try especially the frosting which is much different than how I make mine.

  70. This is very similar to the recipe I use, except instead of sour cream I use cream cheese. I may try out this recipe as well.

  71. I honestly didn’t think that I would like sour cream cookies but they are really good. I made them and took them to work where I had several other people request the recipe. Thanks for the great recipe and for the chance to win. Hope you have a wonderful Holiday season.

  72. Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas Cookie recipe! They look delicious! Thanks for the giveaway and the chance. 🙂

  73. Hola Geri, You are a natural giver and a genuine human being. Thank you for the recipes. I am reading Wedding takedown and I am in love with Rio. I am a slow reader but I still enjoy your books. I also got Navy Christmas and Her Christmas Protector. Can wait to enjoy those ones too. God Bless you always and your beautiful Family! Merry Christmas!

    1. Ana you are so sweet! Thank you and I’m so glad you’re enjoying Rio. 🙂 You’re a doll. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family. xox

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