These adorable melting snowman cookies are such a fun and festive cookie to make for Christmas! The sugar cookie dough has that authentic chewy texture, but ready in less than half the time. No need to chill the dough in the fridge or freezer at all - just whip up the dough and they're ready to cut & bake!
what makes these melting snowman cookies so good?
- no chill sugar cookie dough: I think most (if not all) of us can agree that the best part about holiday cookie baking is NOT waiting around for cookie dough to chill. This cookie dough can be whipped up, rolled, cut, and baked in under 30 minutes flat!
- low spread: despite the fact that this cookie dough never spends any time in the fridge, it keeps it's shape surprisingly well! You will notice a tiny bit of spreading, but it just adds to the melted snowman look!
- texture: we still have that uniquely chewy, tender texture that sugar cookies are famous for!
- easy cookie dough and icing: all the components of these cookies are super easy to make and put together! The topping is also a simple 2 ingredient powdered sugar icing - which is much easier to whip up and work with than royal icing.
- adorable and easy decorating: I have been wanting to make melted snowman cookies since forever because they always looked so freaking cute!! They're so much fun to decorate, and any decorating "mistakes" can just enhance the melting look!
how does no chill cookie dough work?
This dough has 2 features that help the cookies keep their shape without any need for chilling!
- baking powder: A very common ingredient found in most traditional sugar cookie recipes - baking powder helps lift the cookies up as they bake and helps prevent them from going side to side!
- cornstarch: The REAL magic happens thanks to cornstarch! By swapping out a bit of flour for cornstarch, it helps absorb excess liquid without needing a ton of flour (which can make your cookies dense and heavy!) It helps keep them light and tender without hugely compromising their shape.
The only thing to keep in mind when working with no chill cookie dough is that it's going to be soft and delicate. So you need to be a little more gentle when rolling, cutting, and transferring the raw dough.
how to make melting snowman cookies
Make the sugar cookies:
1. Cream together butter and sugar, then whisk in egg and vanilla.
2. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine.
3. Roll, cut, and bake! Cool the cookies before decorating.
Prep the icing:
1. Whisk powdered sugar and water until smooth. If needed, whisk in more water to reach your desired consistency.
2. Divide and color. You'll need plain white icing for the "puddle", and black and orange colored icing for the snowman faces. If you want to give the snowmen little scarves, then you'll also need to color some of the icing whatever color you'd like their scarf to be - I just chose red!
how to decorate melting snowman cookies
Here comes the fun part! Once the sugar cookies have cooled completely to room temperature, it's time to make the melting snowmen!
Start by spooning some of the white icing onto the tops of the cooled cookies and spread into a puddly shape. After making the snowman "puddle" with the white icing, I recommend letting the cookies sit for 5 to 10 minutes to form a slight crust on top before adding the marshmallow and chocolate chip "buttons". This helps keep things from slipping, sliding, and sinking into the icing!
While you wait, it's the perfect time to pipe the details of the snowman's face on the marshmallows. I like to pipe the faces on before placing the marshmallow on the cookie for easier maneuvering.
Set aside the cookies to dry for another 10 to 15 minutes before piping on the little stick hands and scarf so they don't bleed into the white icing.
- don't over soften the butter: It can cause the cookie dough to overspread. Setting the butter out at room temperature for around 1 to 2 hours (depending on how cold your home is) should be the perfect amount of time to soften.
- measuring flour: This cookie dough is very easy to make, but it can instantly go south if there's too much flour added in! Always measure flour by weight or by spoon and leveling! Never scoop the measuring cup directly into the flour bag or it can cause excess weight worth of flour to be packed in.
- rolling the cookie dough: Because this cookie dough is softer (since it's not going to be chilled), I recommend rolling the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Starting on a non-stick surface just makes it a lot easier to work with, without the need to add a boatload of flour. It's also important to lift and move the dough periodically as you roll it to prevent sticking on the bottom.
- be gentle when transferring: I already kind of mentioned this above, but this cookie dough is going to be soft and delicate because of the no chill aspect! So you need to be a little more gentle. I personally like to use an offset spatula to lift the cutout cookies when it's time to move them onto the baking sheet.
- cool the cookies completely before decorating: Otherwise you'll have a soupy, melty mess on your hands!
- use gel food coloring for the icing: It will yield a brighter color and won't water down the icing! If you're in a pinch, you can use liquid-gel - but I'd recommend making the icing slightly firmer to account for the added liquid.
- set the icing: To get a nicer snowman look, I like to let the icing set twice while I'm decorating. The first time I let it set just slightly before adding the marshmallow and chocolate chips (otherwise the marshmallow tends to slide right off if the icing is too wet). If you wait too long, it can be difficult to get the toppings to stick onto the cookie. Then I let it sit again until it's basically fully set before piping the hands and scarf - otherwise the colors can bleed into each other.
storage and make ahead
Keep your cookies in a single layer stored in an airtight container or in a plate covered with plastic wrap. Avoid stacking the decorated cookies otherwise it can ruin the toppings. These cookies will keep for around 3 days at room temperature or 5 days in the fridge.
You can also make the cookie dough ahead and keep it stored in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Shape the dough into a rough disk shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. This cookie dough will keep for around 3 days in the fridge.
You can roll the dough straight from the fridge if you'd like - I'd just recommend giving it a few quick kneads to soften it slightly to make rolling easier.
check out these other Christmas cookie recipes!
Melting Snowman Cookies Recipe
for the no chill sugar cookies:
- ½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature *see notes
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 & ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
for the icing and decorations:
- 2 cups (260g) powdered sugar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons water
- black, orange, and red gel food coloring
- 12 regular size marshmallows
- mini chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
Make the no chill sugar cookies:
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon or spatula by hand, cream together until you no longer see any dry granules of sugar and it's lightened in color. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes by hand or 1 to 2 minutes with an electric mixer set to medium speed.½ cup (1 stick / 115g) unsalted butter,, ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- Add the egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine.1 large egg,, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add in your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Mix together until you have a soft cookie dough.1 & ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour,, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Lay a large piece of parchment paper on your counter and sprinkle with flour. Place your cookie dough onto the floured work surface and lightly flour the top. Roll the cookie dough out until it reaches about ¼ inch thick. Every so often, rotate the dough as you roll it to make sure the bottom doesn't stick. The cookie dough will be soft, so try to be gentle!
- Use a 2 to 3 inch round cookie cutter to cutout circles. Use an offset spatula to gently lift the cutouts up and onto your parchment lined baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches of space on the baking sheet between each cookie to allow for air to evenly circulate.
- Gather the cookie dough scraps and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough is used up.
- Bake the cookies in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
make the icing & decorate!
- In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. If needed, gradually whisk in more water until it reaches your desired consistency.2 cups (260g) powdered sugar, 2 to 4 tablespoons water
- Portion out about 1 tablespoon of icing and dye black, another 1 tablespoon of icing to dye red (or whatever color you'd like the snowman scarves to be), and around ½ a tablespoon of icing to dye orange. Transfer the 3 colored icings to separate plastic bags or piping bags, and cut a tiny hole at the tip. Leave the remaining icing plain white.black, orange, and red gel food coloring
- To decorate, spoon white icing onto your cooled cookies and spread into a messy, puddly looking shape. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to form a slight crust on top so your other decorations don't slip, slide, and sink!
- While you wait, prep the marshmallow snowman heads. On the side of your marshmallows, pipe dots of black icing for the eyes and mouth, and pipe a little orange nose.12 regular size marshmallows
- Gentle press the marshmallow heads on the top of your cookies to stick it into the icing. Drop a few mini chocolate chips for the snowman buttons.mini chocolate chips
- Set aside the cookies for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the white glaze has set. Once set, pipe little snowman stick hands on the sides and add a scarf around the marshmallow head. If you try to do this while the white icing is still wet, the colors can bleed into each other.
- Serve and enjoy!