These richly colored vanilla and almond-flavored cookies are perfect for little hands—the more sprinkles, the better! Each ornament gets a glittery coating of their (or your) favorite sprinkles. We recommend mixing and matching several kinds of sprinkles, sanding sugars, and other edible cookie toppers for the most colorful, sparkling effect. The sweet, buttery cookie dough, flavored with almond and vanilla extracts, has a nice chewy but soft texture when baked. Baking the cookies at a lower temperature helps them hold their round shape, so don’t be tempted to increase the temperature. Also be sure to cool each cookie sheet in between batches (cold running water does the job quickly) to prevent the cookies from spreading. This recipe makes four dozen cookies, perfect for filling cookie tins or bringing to a holiday party.
1 1/2 cups salted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Food coloring gel in blue, red, green, and yellow
White sparkling sugar or sanding sugar
Assorted sprinkles, sugar pearls, silver dragées
How to Make It
Beat butter and sugar with a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until creamy; add vanilla and almond extracts, and beat until incorporated. Gradually add flour, and beat on low speed until incorporated after each addition.
Divide dough into 4 equal portions, and place each portion in a small bowl. Add desired amount of food coloring gel to each bowl, and stir with a fork until food coloring is incorporated. Cover bowls, and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 250°F. Shape 1 dough portion into about 12 (1 1/2-inch) balls, and roll in sparkling sugar or sanding sugar. Press sprinkles, sugar pearls, or silver dragées into dough balls. Place decorated balls about 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough portions.
Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned on bottom, 25 to 30 minutes, switching pans top rack to bottom rack halfway through baking. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.