Butter Cookies For The Holidays


Brianna O'Callaghan, Reporter

When I was a kid, my family made traditions for almost every special day: PJs on Christmas Eve, Conversation Hearts on Valentine’s Day, “Sock-It-To-Me” cake each birthday. And around when I was 10, we made a new one. Every single Christmas, we made butter cookies, shaped in all Christmas shapes, and decorated with a plethora of colors and sprinkles. But these cookies aren’t just for Christmas. 

Fall is here, and with this season comes Thanksgiving just next week. These butter cookies are a perfect treat to bring to a friend or family meal. Below is my family’s recipe with little tricks I’ve learned throughout the years from the ones who make it the best: the O’Callaghans.

Butter Cookie Recipe

What You’ll Need:

Medium/Large Bowl

Small Bowl/Cup


Cookie Baking Pan

Wax Paper (Recommended)


1 Cup of Butter

1 Cup of Sugar

3 Egg Yolks

2 ½ Cups of Flour

1 ½ tsp of Vanilla

½ Cup of Whipping Cream

1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

1-2 tbsp of Half-n-Half




1. Using a medium to large bowl, mix in 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar. Combine these until the sugar and butter are creamy. 

Tip: Leave two sticks of butter (or whatever you have to get 1 cup of butter) the morning of making cookies. This lets the butter soften, so it isn’t hard to mix them when you start.

2. Add 3 egg yolks. Mix each egg yolk in individually. 

Tip: Use the eggshells to separate the egg yolk from the egg whites. 

3. Use a sifter to sift in 2 and ½ cups of flour. The mix will start to get thicker by this point. 

4. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix this in well enough so there are no brown spots in the dough. After this is done, cover the bowl with wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

Tip: You can leave it in the fridge overnight, just don’t forget about it. 

5. After at least an hour and you’re ready to bake the cookies, set the oven to 350 degrees. 

6. Start rolling out the dough. Cookie cutters of any shape work. Once you spray the baking pan, line it with cookies. Make sure to spread them out evenly otherwise they will cook unevenly. 

Tip 1: Use flour on the counter or surface you use the cookie cutters on. It helps decrease the amount of leftover dough stuck to the surface. 

Tip 2: Watch out for how thick or thin your cookies are. Make them the same width as this will determine how well the cookies bake individually. 

7. With the cookies lined up, get out a brush and whipping cream. Brush a little bit of whipping cream on each cookie. After each is covered, put the cookies into the oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Tip: Do not forget this step! The whipping cream is what makes these cookies so good. (And maybe the sugar, too.)

8. When the timer goes off, check the cookies. They should be a soft, light brown on the bottom; Don’t be scared to flip them to make sure. If they aren’t, put them in for two minutes at a time until they are.  

9. Once they’re ready, take them out and let them sit on the hot pan. This will cook them for just a little bit longer.

10. When they’ve hardened and are ready to be taken off, place them, spread out, on the surface you want to ice them. 

Tip: I’ve always used wax paper because with cookie crumbs, icing, and sprinkles all over the place, you just have to fold the paper and throw it away. No mess. 


1. In a bowl or cup, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and 1-2 tablespoons of Half-n-Half

Tip: The icing should be thick, not running. Decorating cookies with running icing will be a mess so make it like syrup. If it is too thick, add Half-n-Half. If it is too thin, add powdered sugar. This cycle can be exhausting, so make sure when you find a good consistency, leave it there.  

2. Add different food dyes or coloring to the icing. Orange, red, brown, and yellow are perfect for Thanksgiving.

3. Start icing the cookies!


From my family to yours, enjoy this recipe with loved ones for any holiday!