Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies


by: Katherine Hysmith

These are not your typical sugar cookies: softer, mildly sweet, and feather light thanks to brown sugar and lovely, flaky lard. These Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies are a holiday tradition in my family. Each year my Grandma rolls out batches of this simple dough, bakes dozens of cookies, and sends them round the state of Texas (and now up to me in New England) for holiday snacking (and sometimes breakfast). With a few recipe tweaks and some fashion-forward frosting, these simple sugar cookies make it over the roof top and right onto Santa's nice list.


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serves: 2-3


2 cups light brown sugar

1 cup lard

3 eggs

1 cup sour milk (combine one cup milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let sit while mixing other ingredients)

5 cups flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

flour for rolling

ROYAL ICING (originally from Bake at 350)

8 tablespoons meringue powder

1 cup water

2 lb powdered sugar

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

color dyes

Nutrition Facts
Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies

Servings Per Recipe: 2

Amount per Serving

Calories: 4979

  • Total Fat: 125 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 50.8 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 376.5 mg
  • Sodium: 1483.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 938.7 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 15.9 g
  •     Sugars: 665 g
  • Protein: 48.5 g

how is this calculated?

Download Nutrition Facts Widget Code


1.  In your stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream sugar and lard until fluffy. Add beaten eggs and mix well.

2.  In another bowl, sift flour, soda, powder, and salt together.

3.  Stir sour milk to thoroughly distribute vinegar. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and sour milk to the sugar, alternating between the two bit by bit. After all is combined add in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

4.  Using a spatula, or floured hands, remove dough from bowl and form into a large ball on a clean floured surface. This dough is unlike any other sugar cookie dough and will be a little sticky. Have no fear, just keep flouring your hands or spatula and forming the dough into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters, keeping one out and putting the rest into a clean bowl in the fridge to keep cool.

5.  Roll out dough to desired thickness (I prefer thinner at about 1/4 inch, but any way will work). Cut with desired cookie cutters or freehand with a knife. Transfer to a lined cookie sheet (these expand but not much, so you can fit a lot onto a tray). Chill sheet for five minutes.

6.  Set oven to 375 degrees and cook for 10-12 minutes or until set, but not browned. These cookies are best soft and white. Cool on wire rack.

7.  ROYAL ICING (for the outlines)

8.  In your stand mixer, combine meringue powder and water on low using the paddle attachment.

9.  Sift in powdered sugar (MUST SIFT). Mix on low until sugar is integrated, then turn to high. Add in corn syrup.

10.  Beat until very stiff peaks form (remove the paddle, dip, remove and if the peaks stand up its ready). Do not over beat or the icing will crack after its dried. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto icing until ready to use.

11.  FLOOD ICING (for inside the outlines)

12.  Portion icing into small bowls for individual colors (saving a larger amount for piping the outlines – I left this white)

13.  In a small bowl with icing, add in 1 teaspoon of water at a time, mixing after each addition, until a thinner consistency is achieved. When you lift your spoon and a ribbon of icing falls back into the bowl, it should melt back into the surface in under 2 seconds. If you want more specifics plus pictures check out Bake at 350′s blog post.

Cooks' note:
These cookies are best with real lard, but if you absolutely need to you can substitute vegetable shortening (although its not recommended). Note that lard has more of the "good" fat and less of the "bad" fat compared to butter and simply another type of fat to cook and bake with.

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My kids are going to love these 🙂