Almond Angel Cookies 44.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2017 Dec 1, 2017

There’s some assembly and chilling time here, but the overall effect is cute enough to put in the time. Ask your favorite pair of extra hands to help. They taste good too — sweet and a little salty, from the pretzel “wings.”

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Make Ahead: The sugared logs of dough need to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours, and up to 2 days. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 44 servings

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow sanding sugar, or more as needed
  • 88 mini salted pretzels
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (you wont use them all, but you need to be able to pick out 88 slices that are not broken)
  • 1 tube yellow decorating icing, or color of your choice (for the hair)
  • 1 tube blue or black decorating icing (for the eyes)
  • 1 tube pink or red decorating icing (for the mouths)


Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed until lightened. Add the milk, vanilla and almond extracts and salt, beating on low speed to incorporate. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the flour and beat on low speed to form a dough that mostly gathers into a ball. Wrap 2/3 cup of it in plastic wrap (this will be for creating the angels’ heads). Divide the remaining dough in half, shaping each one into a log that’s about 2 inches in diameter.

Spread the yellow sanding sugar on a piece of parchment or wax paper; roll the logs in it so that they are evenly and completely coated (but not on the ends). Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate, as well as the 2/3 cup of dough, for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Lay a large piece of parchment or wax paper on your clean work surface.

Unwrap one log and cut it into 22 equal slices, laying them on the paper as you work. (Keep the other log chilled until ready to use.) Arrange 12 sets of the pretzel wings on each baking sheet, so the two-curved edges are facing out. (They should look a little like butterfly wings.)

Fold or pinch in the opposite sides of each sliced cookie at the top so that they are just touching; this will create an angel’s triangular-shaped body. Place it directly on a pair of pretzel wings, pressing it in gently, so the wings show on either side. Press two unbroken almond slices into the dough about where the angel’s hands should be.

Pinch off a dime-size piece of the reserved 2/3 cup of dough and press it in atop the triangular cookie dough body, to form the angel’s head. (You should make sure that dough attaches to dough here.) Bake (middle rack) for 12 to 14 minutes, until just set; try not to let the cookies brown on the edges.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. Repeat to use the remaining dough and pretzels and almonds, to form a total of 44 cookie angels.

Decorate the cooled cookies by drawing in the angels’ hair, eyes and mouths with the icing in tubes. Let set before serving or storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).

Tested by Kara Elder and Bonnie S. Benwick.

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