Ask a Chef: Santa's favorites for National Cookie Day

Ask a Chef: Santa's favorites for National Cookie Day

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There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season with your loved ones than with baking and decorating delicious homemade cookies. Whether you take them to a cookie exchange or create the perfect treats for Santa with your kids, baking cookies creates traditions that will last a lifetime.

I am often asked by my friends and neighbors how to create soft, delicious sugar cookies that don't turn out flat or hard. The key really is in the recipe, and also making sure to refrigerate your dough.

When you allow your dough to cool down in the refrigerator it makes it much easier to roll out and cut into those adorable holiday shapes with your cookie cutters. Follow this recipe and you will create amazing sugar cookies that are perfect for decorating every time.

What culinary questions do you have? Let us know! Email our Harmons chefs at
Ask a Chef: Santa's favorites for National Cookie Day

Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies

Servings: Approximately 2 Dozen Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


Ask a Chef: Santa's favorites for National Cookie Day

1. In stand mixer, with paddle attachment, cream together butter, sour cream and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, stopping and scrapping the sides of bowl twice. Cream in vanilla bean paste.
2. In medium mixing bowl, combined flour, salt and baking powder. Add to mixing bowl with butter and sugar. On low speed, mix just until dough comes together Place into medium mixing bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled completely.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split dough in half. Place one half into refrigerator. Roll second half out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut shapes or circles. Place onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. Repeat procedure with second half of dough.
4. Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes, or until poufy but not brown. Remove form oven. Cool one minute on baking sheet. Remove and cool on wire rack completely.
5. Frost with favorite frosting or decorate with icing, candies, etc. Another fun option is to put decorative sugar or crystal sprinkles onto your dough just before baking. That will create a beautiful, sweet pop of color and you won't need any frosting at all!

The refrigeration trick also works with my famous Gingerbread Cookies. Follow this recipe and you'll have delicious gingerbread cookies every time.

Classic Gingerbread Cookies

Servings: Approximately 2 Dozen Ingredients

Ask a Chef: Santa's favorites for National Cookie Day

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, for soft cookies (or)
  • *½ cup brown sugar & ¾ cup granulated sugar for crisp cookies (better for gingerbread houses)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg spice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves spice 4 ½ cups cake flour


1. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and molasses for 2 minutes. Stopping and scraping after 1 minute.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, stop and scrape. Add vanilla bean paste with last egg.
3. Sift together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and flour and mix into mixture. Sprinkle in salt.
4. Separate into two balls and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
5. Roll out to 1/4"-1/2" depending on desired softness. Cut into desired shape. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 400 for 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and slide cookies off cookie sheet. Cool completely. Decorate with icing, candy and sprinkles if desired.

I hope you family enjoys these cookie recipes as much as mine does! Baking can be a little tricky, but these recipes are simple and always a favorite at my house during the holiday season.

This Christmas let Harmons help you share the holiday love with great food! Stop by our Holiday Open House at all 16 locations this Saturday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. We'll have delicious samples, fantastic holiday savings and an opportunity for pictures with Santa from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. You can also visit our website to order your complete holiday meals, delicious party trays, tempting desserts and more!

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Chef Kimberly Larsen for Harmons


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