Kicking off the holiday baking season with my Easy Slice ‘n’ Bake Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies. Made with brown sugar, real vanilla, and my secret ingredients, a little bit of hazelnut liquor and almond extract to bring out the vanilla flavor. These cookies are soft, buttery, and perfectly sweet with the best vanilla flavor and notes of brown sugar. They’re generously frosted with a thick and creamy whipped caramel buttercream frosting. Then decorated with festive holiday sprinkles. The combination of real vanilla, brown sugar, and almond extract, keeps these cookies incredibly flavorful. Plus, they’ve got some really GOOD frosting. These cookies make for a great homemade gift, and a festive addition to your holiday cookie box!
Just like last holiday season, I’m focusing on ALL of the Christmas cookies. I have so many ideas and not enough days to share – like so many ideas. I’m in Christmas mode, and picking the best cookies to share has been hard!
These cookies were an easy choice. I think my mother picked them from my list 5 times over, so I had to start here. And I’m happy I did. I LOVE these cookies. They might be one of my easiest, but cutest.
I know it looks like making these cute could take time, but I have a secret little shortcut you’ll love.
My hang-up with basic sugar cookies is that they’re often flavorless. And even worse, the frosting just tastes like sugar, and I’m definitely not into that.
With these cookies, I wanted to add flavor with brown sugar and real vanilla bean. But most importantly, I wanted to use a buttercream frosting instead of the classic sugar icing.
A soft brown sugar vanilla cookie with real whipped caramel frosting = VERY GOOD sugar cookies!
Beat the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla bean powder. You’ll want to beat for at least a minute to really infuse the butter with the vanilla flavor. Next, add eggs, hazelnut liquor, and almond extract, then all the dry ingredients.
From here, shape the dough into two logs, wrap them up in paper, and chill until firm enough to slice n’ bake.
If you have an almost empty roll of wrapping paper around, cut the roll and fit it around each log. This will prevent the dough from forming a straight edge in the fridge!
And when ready to bake, simply slice-n-bake!
I went with a vanilla buttercream, but there’s a little secret ingredient involved – salted caramel. Or you can use thick maple syrup. It’s only a fourth of a cup, but it just makes the frosting melt in your mouth.
Use homemade caramel sauce or store-bought, though I prefer homemade sauce if you have the time.
It’s honestly, so good and makes for one of the best buttercream frostings.
Decorating is easy and fun
Even though each cookie looks all cute, I kept things SO simple. The trick is to use Christmas cookie cutters as “stencils”. Then fill in the cutter with holiday sanding sugars. I used a small reindeer, a Christmas tree, and a Santa hat.
Just place the cookie cutter on top of the frosted cookie and sprinkle a little sanding sugar inside the cutter. Shake the cookie to evenly distribute the sanding sugar.
It’s so easy and I had fun decorating! To help get the sanding sugar cleanly into each cookie cutter, I made a small funnel out of paper.
And of course, you can skip using the cookie cutters altogether. Simply decorate each cookie with your favorite assortment of holiday sprinkles. They’ll be delicious and cute either way!
Looking for other Christmas cookies? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Easy Slice ‘n’ Bake Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Easy Slice ‘n’ Bake Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
Servings: 40 cookies
Calories Per Serving: 112 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined. Add the hazelnut liquor (if using), almond extract, and eggs – 1 at a time, and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, beat until combined and the dough forms a ball. 2. Divide the dough in half. Place each ball of dough on a large piece of wax or parchment paper. Shape into a log about 10″ long. Wrap the dough up in the paper and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or up to 5 days.3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.4. Unwrap the dough and cut the log into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes for soft cookies. Let cool. 5. To make the frosting. Beat together the butter and vanilla in a large bowl until extra light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and caramel or maple. Beat until whipped, about 2 more minutes.6. Frost the cooled cookies and decorate as desired. To make the shapes of your favorite Christmas cutouts, find a few small Christmas cookie cutters and gently place in the center of the frosted cookie. Sprinkle the inside of the cookie cutter with sanding sugar. Gently shake the cookie to evenly distribute the sanding sugar and then remove the cookie cutter and finish decorating. See photos for reference.7. Store cookies, covered for up to 4 days at room temperature.
Tip: If you have an almost empty roll of wrapping paper, cut the roll down the center, then fit the cut roll around each log. This will prevent the dough from forming a straight edge in the fridge.
Tip: Use a piece of paper as a funnel for the sanding sugar. This ensures that the sugar stays neatly inside the cookie cutter.