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Roly-poly santa cookies recipe
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Roly-Poly Santa Sugar Cookies

These festive Santa's are not only cute but also incredibly delicious shortbread cookies, with a hint of almond flavoring.
Course Baking, Dessert, DIY, Snack
Cuisine American, British, Canadian, European, French, German, Italian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 cookies
Calories 392kcal


For the cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups flour (all purpose or gluten free)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened or two sticks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
  • red paste food coloring

For the frosting

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening I used Crisco
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ⅓ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk, room temperature

For the decorations

  • Sanding sugar, silver sugar pearls & Red Hot candies


For the cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter for 3 minutes. Then gradually add granulated sugar. Beat 3 minutes more. Add the milk, vanilla and almond flavoring; mix well. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Divide dough. Take out 1 ⅔ cups, tint red. Shape the white dough into 48 (½-inch) balls and 12 (¾-inch) balls. Shape the red dough into 60 (½-inch) balls and 12 (1 ¼-inch) balls.
  • Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the large red balls (6 per pan) for the Santa bodies. Attach the 12 (¾-inch) balls for heads. Attach four ½-inch red balls to each Santa for arms and legs. Attach the ½-inch white balls to the ends of arms and legs, lightly pressing together. Place remaining ½-inch red balls on heads and form into hats.
  • Bake Santa cookies until set, 12-15 miutes. Let cool, then CAREFULLY remove to wire racks. (Cookies will be fragile.)

For the frosting

  • Beat shortening in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

Decorating the cookies

  • Using a pastry bag with #4 round tip, pipe a band of icing on hat and cuffs (hands and feet), and down the front and at bottom of jacket; while icing is still wet, sprinkle the sanding sugar over icing on brim of hat and cuffs. Using a #16 pastry tip, pipe swirls of icing for beard and tip of hat. Place Red Hots candy for nose, silver sugar pearls for eyes and buttons.



If you're gluten intolerant, try this recipe with gluten free flour. I actually made these cookies with King Arthur 1:1 Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour and they turned out beautifully (as you can see).


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 481IU | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg