Christmas Butter Cookies: Southern Holiday Funfetti Bites
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Slice this Christmas butter cookie recipe into tiny bites for gifting, receiving, and ENJOYING during the holiday season!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Funfetti or funfetti cake was created in 1989 by the Pillsbury Company who also own the trademark to ‘Funfetti’. Since its inception which began as a marketing campaign, funfetti has become the most popular birthday cake ‘flavor’ right up there next to chocolate! So why not celebrate it by baking it up in a Christmas Butter Cookie recipe?
Christmas Funfetti Butter Cookie Bites – Classic Southern Cookie Recipes
Buttery shortbread cookies…in miniature…for Christmas gifting and receiving! All snug in a decorative glass jar or mug, these flash-baked cookie tidbits make great holiday gifts for teachers, neighbors, and everyone else on your list!
In these photos, I have sliced a large sheet of cookie dough into HUNDREDS of 1/2-inch, bite-sized cookies for the holiday season. Combined with multicolored nonpareils, they’re festive as can be.
Feeling ultra-creative? Experiment with Christmas sprinkles in holiday colors instead and pull out the tiniest cookie cutters you have to play with different shapes.
These festive jars are being gifted to members of my book club, each accompanied by a copy of Andy Andrews heartwarming Christmas classic, Socks for Christmas.
How This Recipe Came About…
I feel like every year, I am on some never-ending quest for the best Christmas butter cookie recipe of all time. I’ve baked so many fabulous shortbreads and have narrowed it down to three that are now part of my annual bake list.
But this one…this one is unique in that it makes the process of gifting so much easier. I can make this dough up to two months ahead of time and freeze it in between sheets of wax paper until I am ready to cut into tidbits and bake them off.
How do they measure up to traditional boxes of Danish butter cookies, sugar cookies, and spritz cookies? Personally, I like them better simply because they take the time and labor out of massive amounts of cookie baking.
NEED MORE PROOF??
- One sheet of dough is equal to 256 half-inch bites of these cuties. I am using them to fill between eight and ten 4-ounce mini mason jars.
- Multiply that by however many teacher, neighbor, postman, or newspaper delivery boy gifts you need to assemble, and these start to look VERY APPEALING based sheerly on the ease of them.
Do You Have All You Need to Bake Up These Christmas Butter Cookies? Check the List!
- room temperature unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- almond extract (may also use vanilla extract)
- all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- nonpareils of any color
Are These Just for Christmas?
Heck no! These perfectly perfect tiny pop-ems are easily changed up just by selecting colors unique to a season or holiday or even pink or blue for a baby shower celebration.
In the spring, I added yellow, green, and pink nonpareils to this wonderful recipe for butter cookie shortbread in time for Easter, then used up the remaining pink nonpareils for a baby shower the following weekend. The perfect cookie of course begins not only with an excellent dough, but also beautiful shapes.
If wanting to add a festive touch, bust out your favorite cookie cutters (the tinier, the better!) and begin to shape dough to reflect the time of year or occasion you’re celebrating.
If you cut anything larger than the 1/2-inch specified in the recipe card below, be sure to give consideration to the box, tin, or jar you plan to fill. I strongly recommend cruising the isles of your local drug store for small gift tins or boxes or browsing Amazon for the same.
A trip to a local dollar venue last Christmas benefited my gift direction in that I was able to source a huge stash of clear glass coffee mugs. Let me tell you, Christmas Funfetti Butter Cookie Bites look FABULOUS the more creative you can get!
What Kitchen Equipment Will I Need?
A rolling pin is necessary for the dough here for sure. Aside from that, an 8 x 8-inch baking dish, plastic wrap, a cookie sheet or sheets, a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or handheld electric mixer and a large bowl for mixing, a long and sharp kitchen knife, parchment paper, and an airtight container for storing.
Because these are so small, they cool fairly quickly once pulled from your oven, so no need for a wire rack unless you just want to use it. Also, if the idea of 1/2-inch tidbits aren’t appealing, grab some cute cookie cutters, however they should be very small shapes to ensure the dough bakes the best way possible.
I get the best results with this recipe when I use my stand mixer because this is a stiff dough. If, however you prefer to use a hand mixer, you’ll want to do so at medium speed consistently.
How to Make This Christmas Butter Cookie Recipe?
I barely need to break this method down it is THAT EASY. But here we go, just make sure all of your ingredients are gathered and measured out so you’re not hunting things mid-recipe.
Make the Cookie Dough
Heat your oven to 325°F. Then use plastic film to line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan leaving a 1-inch-long overhang on both ends. Set aside for the moment while you line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine a very soft stick of unsalted butter with both granulated sugar and some almond extract. If you cannot use or just don’t have almond extract on hand, grab for your vanilla.
I begin on low speed and gradually increase speed as the butter and sugar become creamy. Reduce the speed to low again and add in flour and salt and beat until mixed.
Next comes the nonpareils and this recipe specifies 4 teaspoonfuls but you can do more. I sometimes will do as many as 7 teaspoonfuls, setting 3 teaspoonfuls aside for sprinkling over and gently pressing into the dough once it’s all rolled out.
Assembling the Cookies
Use your fingers or a spatula to scrape the dough from the mixing bowl and onto a work surface. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times then pat it into the 8 x 8-inch baking dish.
Next, use the plastic film overhangs to lift the dough out of the pan and onto a work surface. Use your rolling pin VERY LIGHTLY and without pressing down with a whole lot of force to smooth the surface of the dough.
Using a long, sharp kitchen knife and a ruler (yes, a ruler!), cut the dough into 1/2-inch squares. And yes, THEY’RE TINY!
Gently lift the squares using a metal spatula and place them onto an ungreased baking sheet about 1/2-inch distance apart from one another. Discard the plastic wrap.
Baking the Butter Cookie Tidbits
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to turn golden brown. Remove the sheets from the oven and allow to cool.
Packaging This Recipe for Christmas Butter Cookies with Gifting in Mind
Nothing gets me into the holiday spirit more than the first batch of Christmas cookies I bake. I happen to think a lot of edible gifts and gifting so of course cookies are a big part of a complete gift.
Think packaging, think ribbon and tiny cards, and even jingle bells. I save so many small scraps of ribbon, especially if that ribbon is a pretty ribbed fabric, so in my case, a hot glue gun works for being able to use short lengths by simply affixing them with hot glue to the top of a package.
Can I Make These Funfetti Christmas Cookies Ahead?
Yes, but up to 2 months! Prepare the cookie dough according to the directions in the recipe card below up to the part of slicing the dough into 1/2-inch squares.
Instead, remove the dough from the baking dish using the plastic film overhangs and place directly onto a sheet of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the top very gently, then cover with another sheet of wax paper.
Slip into a gallon-sized zippered freezer bag, label, and freeze. When you are ready to bake, simply pull from the freezer the night before and allow dough to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Slice into tidbits and bake!
Christmas Butter Cookies: Southern Holiday Funfetti Bites
- stand mixer or handheld electric mixer
- cookie sheets
- 8 x 8-inch baking dish
- plastic film
- Rolling Pin
- long, sharp kitchen knife
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons nonpareils any color(s) *if you want to sprinkle the tops of the cookie bites, use anywhere from 1 to 3 additional teaspoons of nonpareils and gently press into surface just before cutting
- Heat oven to 325°F. Use plastic film to line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan leaving a 1-inch-long overhang on both ends. Set aside. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine a very soft stick of unsalted butter with sugar and almond extract. Beat until creamy. Note: this dough can be very hard to work with if the butter is not soft, so ensure your butter is pulled from refrigeration WELL BEFORE you plan to bake.
- Reduce speed to low and add in flour and salt and beat until mixed. Add the nonpareils. Note: this recipe specifies 4 teaspoonfuls but you can do more. I sometimes will do as many as 7 teaspoonfuls, setting 3 teaspoonfuls aside for sprinkling over and gently pressing into the dough once it's all rolled out and BEFORE cutting.
- Use your fingers or a spatula to scrape the dough onto a work surface. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times then pat it into the plastic-lined 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Use the plastic film overhangs to lift the dough out of the pan and onto a work surface. Use your rolling pin VERY LIGHTLY and without pressing down with a whole lot of force to smooth the surface of the dough. If using additional nonpareils on the top, sprinkle over now and gently press into the dough.
- Using a long, sharp kitchen knife and a ruler (yes, a ruler for reference, these don't need to be exact), cut the dough into 1/2-inch squares. Gently lift the squares and place them onto an ungreased baking sheet(s) 1/2-inch apart. Discard the plastic wrap. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to turn golden brown. Remove the sheets from the oven and allow to cool.
- Package for gifting or store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like these southern cookie recipes:
- No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
- Pork Rind and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Butter Pecan Cookies
- Valentine Shortbread Cookie Stacks
- Colossal Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
- Cherry Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
I love these! Pinned! You can change the sprinkles for easy season! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner Party! Have a wonderful week!
Oh Jenny these are absolutely adorable!!!
Nicolle, thank you 🙂 I did these for my book club and then realized how convenient they are only after I returned home with the bowl empty. They can be assembled, rolled into sheets, and frozen until ready to cut and bake.
These look so addictive and a perfect little treat to give for the holiday season as well. Love this!
Tammy, you think like I think which means we are both smart and delicious gifters!
Your recipe sounds heavenly, but the nutrition info seems WAY too good to be true! ~A serving of 12 tidbits has only 10 calories & 1 gram of carbs?? If so, this will be a staple in my diet! Please check the nutrition facts & post any corrections.
Thanks in advance, and Happy Holidays, Jenny! ☃️
Nan, corrections made, and thank you. The auto-generate used the approximate number of pieces vs the number of servings, so that’s where it was off. Unfortunately, I doubt this will any longer be a staple in your diet however you may change your mind after you taste them! Jenny