Erin’s Family’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

Diptique candle

Below, Erin Sousa, our beauty and lifestyle editor, lets us in on her Grandma’s famous recipe for holiday sugar cookies—just in time for the last minute homemade gifting rush!

Baking during the holidays has been a family tradition since as long as I can remember! Sugar cookies have always been a staple in our line-up, and my Grandma’s recipe is a treasured part of our Christmas memories. They are so pretty, and the shapes are so festive. They make the perfect hostess gift, teacher gift or addition to any dessert tray during your holiday entertaining. These sugar cookies are thin and crispy—the sugar sprinkle gives a sweet crunch and a little hint of sparkle. Whether you gift them in a festive tin or serve them with some tea, these cookies might become a new tradition in your home, too!

white cake plate

Grandma’s Holiday Sugar Cookies

*Makes one dozen.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest, then mix.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Separate the dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes until firm. Allow to stand on the counter for 10 minutes and then roll out on a floured surface—the dough should be ¼-inch thick.
  5. Cut out your shapes and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle liberally with sugar and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden.

star cookie cutter

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Author: Erin Sousa

Erin is the founder & principal of Sparkle Media, and blogs at The Sparkle. Erin lives in her downtown Vancouver condo with her husband, Roberto, and their dog, Ava. Follow on Instagram!