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Stirring up Memories — Cookie Baking with Chef Ryan

It has been a busy year for The Woodlands Resort Pastry Chef Ryan Witcher, having nabbed Wine & Food Week’s Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase’s coveted Waterford Crystal Just Desserts Trophy. This month his baking kitchen runs full tilt as he creates, bakes and serves up myriad delicious holiday-themed desserts and his signature perfection pastries at The Woodlands Resort and Robard’s Steakhouse. The Woodlander asked Chef Ryan to share a family Christmas cookie recipe with us. What follows is one of his favorites…

Chef Ryan’s Great Grandma’s Classic Christmas Cookie Recipe
(yields 2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients and measurements:

Butter – 1 ½ cups
Powdered Sugar – 1 ¼ cups
Sanding Sugar – 1 tablespoon for each cookie (pick your favorite colors)
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Eggs – 3 large size
All-Purpose Flour – 2 ¾ cups
Corn Starch – ¼ cup
Almond Extract – 1 teaspoon
Lemon Extract – ½ teaspoon


Step 1: In an electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment, mix the butter, powdered sugar and salt until well combined
Step 2: Slowly add the eggs scraping down the bowl after each addition
Step 3: Add extracts and mix until fully incorporated

Step 4: Add your sifted flours and mix to just combine

Step 5: Put dough onto floured workspace and roll out to ¼ inch thick

Step 6: Cut out your favorite shapes and place them on a parchment lined baking tray

Chef Ryan’s Pro Tip: refrigerate raw dough cookie cut outs about 3-4 hours before baking to prevent them from losing their shape

Step 7: Sprinkle with your favorite sugars

Step 8: Bake at 350*F until the entire cookie is light brown (usually around 8-10 minutes)

Step 9: Let cookies cool down