Santa’s Whiskers Cookies

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The merriest of all Christmas cookies! Santa’s Whiskers Cookies are soft slice and bake cookies flavored with almond, studded with cherries, and rolled in coconut.

Santa's Whiskers Cookies are slice and bake butter cookies with sweet cherries, almond flavor, and are rolled in coconut. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Can you believe it’s already day 4 of 2018 Sally’s Cookie Palooza? If you’re just joining us, here are all the recipes published so far this week:

Today I’m sharing an adorably named slice and bake cookie known as Santa’s Whiskers Cookies. My sister-in-law told me about these cookies last Christmas and I waited all year to bake them. Rolled in coconut, these almond flavored cookies are bejeweled with festive cherries and baked until golden around the edges. Aren’t they pretty?

Plate of Santa's Whiskers Cookies

Let’s talk about Slice and Bake Cookies. There are many cookies I obsess over, but if one type of cookie were to win 1st place… it would be the slice and bake cookie.

Slice and Bake Cookies

I love baking slice and bake cookies because sometimes I don’t feel like rolling 2 dozen cookie dough balls. Who’s with me? Instead of rolling each individual cookie, you roll the cookie dough into logs, then slice the logs into discs. These discs are your cookies. It’s literally so easy. Here are some you can try:

Today’s version is my new favorite!

Santa's cookie dough

Slice and bake cookie dough rolled in coconut

All the Good Stuff about Santa’s Whiskers Cookies!

  • Easy ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, egg.
  • There’s no leavener, so the cookies are extra dense and buttery.
  • 1 bowl recipe.
  • Since you’re slicing the dough, you control the thickness.
  • Soft and thick in the centers!
  • So festive with cherry and almond.
  • Crunchy crumbly toasted coconut edges = coconut is Santa’s “whiskers” 🙂
  • Make ahead. Make the dough, roll into logs, chill for up to 5 days, slice then bake.

I have some success tips for you. First, divide the cookie dough in half and roll into 2 logs. Smaller logs are easier to roll in the coconut. Chilling the cookie dough logs is imperative to the recipe. The cookie dough is very buttery and without time in the refrigerator, the cookie dough will spread all over the cookie sheets. Remember that chilling is the #1 guaranteed tip to prevent overspreading. You could even shape this cookie dough into logs and freeze. Simply thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing and baking.

*Santa Claus does not have whiskers. The whiskers = his beard and mustache!*

Santa's Whiskers Cookies with cherries, almond, coconut, and white chocolate

I used maraschino cherries and green candied cherries– I found the green cherries in the holiday section of my regular grocery store. If you can’t get your hands on green cherries, just use red maraschino cherries or add some pistachios or green sprinkles. At the very last minute, I decided to garnish the cookies with melted white chocolate. Optional, of course, but since this is a Christmas cookie– it made for an extra special accessory!

Santa's Whiskers Cookies

Could these cookies BE more jolly? Cue Chandler Bing’s voice.

What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?

Sally’s Cookie Palooza is a tradition since 2013. Every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 brand new cookie recipes as well as giveaways, the December Baking Challenge, Christmas cookie video tutorials, and so much more. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂

Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!

Santa's Whiskers Cookies

The merriest of all Christmas cookies! Santa's Whiskers Cookies are soft slice and bake cookies flavored with almond, studded with cherries, and rolled in coconut.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (63g) finely chopped maraschino cherries (I used a mix of green and red)*
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, for rolling
  • optional: one 4-ounce white chocolate baking bar and extra coconut for topping

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined. On low speed, beat in the flour and salt until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to low speed and beat in the cherries *just* until combined. Too much beating will turn the cookie dough pink. (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing!)
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don't have to be exact. Roll each log in the shredded coconut. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine for 4 hours or even overnight-- the colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. If desired, drizzle the cooled cookies with white chocolate. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 15-second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth. Drizzle on the cookies. Sprinkle with extra coconut, if desired. Allow chocolate to set completely in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  7. Cookies without chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies with chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. You can make/assemble the cookie dough logs and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (see step 2). Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I used maraschino cherries and green candied cherries-- I found the green cherries in the holiday section of my regular grocery store. If you can't get your hands on green cherries, just use red maraschino cherries or add some salted or unsalted pistachios or green sprinkles. Dried cranberries or dried cherries are a wonderful substitute for the red cherries too! Stick with around 3/4 cup - 1 cup total add-ins. If using maraschino cherries packed in juice, lightly blot before or after chopping.
  2. Santa's Whiskers Cookies typically contain nuts, but I skipped the nuts in this recipe. If desired, use half chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios and half chopped cherries. Stick with around 3/4 cup - 1 cup total add-ins.
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Baking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Shredded Coconut

Santa's Whiskers Cookies with cherries, almond, coconut, and white chocolate

82 Comments

All Comments

  1. I just have to say I am not a big coconut fan – while my husband is! These cookies were easy to make and in spite of coconut – they were simply yummy! I will be making these again!

  2. Although I have never seen this cookie made with white chocolate, I’ve been making these cookies for at least twenty five years. I added candied pineapple in with the red and green cherries to the dough, What a hit! Yummy

1 2

Reviews

  1. Baked half a batch this weekend and the other half this morning. The flavor of these cookies is so delicious! I love the cherry and hint of almond. There was a nice crunch from the coconut on the outside but not too overpowering. The dough held up in the fridge for 4 days. Would make again and use green and red cherries instead of just red for a more festive look.

Questions

  1. Hi Sally! I read your baking tip bout how these cookies (sans chocolate) will stay fresh at room temp for a week. If I wanted these to keep until after Christmas, would you recommend waiting to bake and freezing the dough? Or would they be okay if baked, stored and chilled in an airtight container?

    1. Hi Rachel! For BEST taste, I recommend making the cookie dough and rolling into logs as instructed. Freeze the logs, then thaw, slice, and bake when you’re ready. Best tasting cookies that way!

  2. Hi!
    Great recipe! I’m eager to try it but I have a question.
    We have dairy and nut allergies.
    Is it okay to use vegan butter that ISNT unsalted? And also, what can I sub for almond extract?

    1. Hi Bianca, I haven’t tested this with vegan butter but if you try it and it is salted just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to 1/8 tsp. It’s ok to leave the almond extract out!

  3. Hey Sally! Did you measure the cherries before or after you chopped them? I gave my maraschino cherries a spin in the food processor to chop them up and then measured out 3/4 cup. I drained out the extra liquid but my dough is too wet and sticky to shape. I’m going to go ahead and make a second batch (without cherries) to combine with the first batch and hope that will at least help with the consistency. I was just wondering if I measured the cherries incorrectly or if I should just have faith and chilling will fix the problem. Thanks!

    1. Hey Kristen! I chop the cherries before measuring. Chilling the cookie dough in the logs stiffens them up, so they’re super easy to cut.

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