Carla Hall's Sparkling Almond Sugar Cookies Recipe

"This is the kind of recipe that everyone should have in their back pockets," says the chef and judge on Holiday Baking Championship on discovery+. "They’re buttery, slightly crumbly and so easy to make!"

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"This is the kind of recipe that everyone should have in their back pockets," says Carla Hall. "They're buttery, slightly crumbly and so easy to make!" The chef and judge on Holiday Baking Championship on discovery+ says that the cookies are inspired by her new book, Carla and the Christmas Cornbread.

"I'm a big fan of one recipe, different 'seasons'," says Hall. "This is classic shortbread, which I can change up with different spices or flavorings to suit the occasion."


Ingredient Checklist

  • 3 cups (about 12¾ oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 10 oz.s white baking chips (1½ cups)
  • Silver sparkling or sanding sugar and round silver candy sprinkles


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and almond extract until incorporated. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture, beating until dough comes together in large clumps, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
  • Step 2Transfer dough to a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag, and press into a 1-inch-thick, 9-inch-wide rectangle. Seal bag. Refrigerate until dough is firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks.
  • Step 3Preheat oven to 350°. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide chilled dough evenly into 2 pieces on a lightly floured work surface. Roll each piece to about ½-inch thickness. Cut dough using lightly floured 2½-inch and 5-inch snowflake-shaped cutters, rerolling scraps as needed. Arrange cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
  • Step 4Bake in batches, 1 baking sheet at a time, until cookie edges are browned and tops are golden, 14 to 18 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets, 1 hour.
  • Step 5Place baking chips in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on medium (50 percent power) for 20 seconds. Stir, and continue microwaving until smooth and glossy, about 30 seconds total, stopping to stir every 10 seconds.
  • Step 6Working with 1 cookie at a time, spread a thin layer of melted baking chips over surface of cookie. Place cookie, frosted side up, on a wire rack, and immediately decorate with sparkling sugar and sprinkles. Repeat process with remaining cookies and melted baking chips. Let stand at room temperature until frosting has set, about 20 minutes.


Try a cream cheese frosting: With an electric mixer, beat 4 oz. softened cream cheese and 1⁄4 cup softened unsalted butter until smooth. Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until creamy.

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