Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 4-1/2 hours + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + standing


3 dozen

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
The kids will be jumping for joy when you bring out a cookie plate filled with Santas and his helper elves. These whimsical treats will be a hit with adults, too. The butter cookies are easy to shape and a delight to decorate. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Santa and Elf Christmas Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
  • 8 teaspoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • 36 miniature marshmallows
  • Assorted sprinkles and pearl dragees


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in the egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in waxed paper and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until easy to handle.
  3. For Santas: On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Turn a pie plate upside down over circle and cut around the edge with a knife; reserve scraps. Cut into 8 wedges.
  4. Place wedges 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Fold the tip of each wedge down. Tuck a scrap piece of dough (about a 1/2-in. ball) under the upper part of fold.
  5. For elves: Roll another portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut in half; cut 1 half into 4 wedges and the other half into 8 wedges. Repeat forming Santas with the large wedges. Transfer small wedges to a baking sheet; fold tips down, forming hats.
  6. Roll the remaining portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Cut into 16 wedges. Transfer to baking sheets; fold tips down.
  7. Bake at 350° for 10-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  8. To decorate: In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar; add water. Beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  9. Tint icing with colors of your choice. (Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.) Working with one cookie at a time, decorate with icing, attach a marshmallow to the tip of hat and finish with sprinkles and dragees as desired. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Check out more of our best Christmas cookies of the holiday season.
  • Nutrition Facts

    1 cookie: 201 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 19mg cholesterol, 84mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (30g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.