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Last Updated on December 19, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
Happy December! And welcome to my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies celebration! Christmastime is my absolute favorite time of the year, and what better way to celebrate than with cookies? So for the first 12 days of December I’ll be sharing tons of new and updated cookie recipes both here on the blog as well as on Instagram and Facebook. I want to get you guys into December with all the fantastic Christmas cookie recipes you can handle! And to start it off, I’m sharing this new recipe for slice and bake christmas cookies!
These shortbread cookies are SO easy to make, and SO Christmasy! They’re a classic shortbread cookie base, brightened up with orange extract and sweetened dried cranberries. But the best part (of course) is that once they’re baked, these slice and bake Christmas cookies are dipped in luscious white chocolate for the most decadent holiday treat you could ask for!
Slice and bake method
I love making slice and bake cookies — they’re so easy and the dough can be ready to go straight from the fridge! Perfect for make-ahead recipes and for experimenting with flavors. So how does the slice and bake method work?
First, we’ll get our shortbread dough mixed up and bring it together in two dough balls. Then we roll each chunk of dough into a cylinder shape and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Next, the dough needs to chill at least two hours to let the fats re-solidify and firm up the cylinder shapes. Finally, we’ll cut the chilled dough into slices and bake it! Hence, the name slice and bake christmas cookies!
How do I keep my cut cookies from spreading?
A few tips to remember to prevent your cookies from spreading:
- Make sure your dough is properly chilled. In the recipe card below, I suggest that you chill your dough for at least two hours. To be on the safe side, though, overnight is preferable. Once you take the dough out of the fridge, move quickly to get it cut into slices and onto your baking sheet while handling the dough as little as possible. If you have to wait for the oven to finish preheating, then pop the baking sheet and cookie slices back into the fridge while you wait.
- Make sure your flour is measured correctly. If you don’t have enough flour, the fat in the dough can move around in the oven and change the shape of the cookies. As I mention below, your best bet would be to use a kitchen scale to measure out your flour by weight.
- Make sure your oven temperature is correct. We’re baking these slice and bake Christmas cookies at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the typical 350, because the heat of the oven will firm up the outside of the cookie before the inside has a chance to move around, thereby preventing spreading. But if your oven runs a little cold, as many do (mine included), you run a greater risk of the cookies losing their shape. I like to use an oven thermometer! It hangs from your oven rack and can give you a consistent reading of the actual temperature inside your oven, so that you can adjust the temperature dial as needed.
- Reach for parchment paper instead of a silicone baking liner. I love my Silpat baking liner, but the nonstick surface can contribute to slightly more spread and darker browning than parchment paper. So if spreading is a concern, use parchment paper to be safe.
How soon before Christmas can I make cookies?
Good news! These slice and bake Christmas cookies are very freezer-friendly! So you can make them up to 2 months in advance, let them cool and set fully, and then pop them in an airtight container to freeze until Christmas! Just let them thaw in the container at room temperature and then serve as normal!
You can also store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or in the fridge for up to a week. Either way, you’re in control of your timeframe. You can be enjoying these slice and bake Christmas cookies today, tomorrow, or next month! Or you can do like I do, and sneak one out of the freezer every couple days or so.
These simple shortbread cookies come together so easily with just a few ingredients:
- all-purpose flour – I always say this, but be sure to measure your flour correctly. I highly recommend measuring out 416 grams of flour using a kitchen scale, but you can also use the spoon-and-level method.
- powdered sugar – same as the flour, it’s best to measure by weight, but you can also just make sure it’s sifted before measuring in cups.
- salted butter – you’ll need 3 sticks of salted butter, or you can use unsalted butter and add 3/4 tsp of salt.
- orange extract – if you don’t have orange extract, you can add almond extract, vanilla extract, or any other flavor you’d like!
- sweetened dried cranberries – I love the flavor of cranberries and white chocolate together!
- white chocolate – I always use Ghirardelli baking bars, but you can also use candy melts or melted white baking chips. Just be careful not to over-melt it in the microwave!
And that’s it! Just a handful of ingredients for these slice-and-bake Christmas cookies. Now let’s check out the equipment you’ll need:
You’ll need the basic cookie tools: a stand mixer or handheld mixer, as well as a baking sheet and a silicone liner or some parchment paper to line it with. But for this recipe you’ll also need a 2-inch round cookie cutter and some plastic wrap to chill your cookie dough.
If you’re a fan of slice and bake Christmas cookies, you’ll also want to try my Chocolate Orange Slice-and-Bake cookies! They’ve got the unmistakably Christmasy flavors of dark chocolate and orange zest, and they’re even easier to make than these!
Another easy Christmas favorite of mine is this white chocolate peppermint cookie recipe! They’re so easy to make and almost melt in your mouth! Plus the white sanding sugar adds such a lovely festive touch.
Equipment you may need
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in orange extracts to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and dried cranberries and mix well.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix with a hand mixer or paddle attachment of a stand mixer until dough begins to come together.
- Divide dough in half. Dust surface with flour and, with floured hands, roll dough into two cylinders, about 1 ½ -2 inch in diameter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Dough can be made up and chilled to 3 days in advance.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
- Unwrap chilled dough logs. Using a serrated knife, cut log into ½-inch slices.
- Place cookie slices on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to lightly brown around the edges.
- Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
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