Despite their rich buttery flavor, they’re still secretly skinny!
Early on in our childhood Christmas careers, Mom and Dad established a “Wake Up Rule.” My brother and I were forced to wait until 6 am before we could crack open the bedroom door, sprint down the hallway to the family room, and stare at the goodies from Santa. After our 2-minute sneak peek, we dashed back across the house, exclaimed, “Merry Christmas!!” to our half-asleep parents, and impatiently bounced up and down while they slid into their slippers.
Once they roused our visiting Arizona grandparents (my brother and I weren’t allowed—we were too energetic!) and telephoned my dad’s mother on the other side of town, the 7 of us sat around the fireplace to finally open stockings, some of us younger members shaking out the chocolate and Kleenex (Santa predictably left travel-sized packages every year) a little faster than the others.
Despite the tremendous temptations emitting from under the tree, our parents firmly requested that we took turns shaking our boxes and ripping off the decorative paper. They also expected us to graciously deliver our grandparents’ gifts to them on the couch, to ease the pain from their creaky old knees.
We quickly learned never to rattle the round metal tins from Grandma M, Dad’s mom. She toted them over on Christmas morning, cautiously setting them alongside the other gifts and shooing away our nosy golden retriever. Every year, she packed a small one with buckeye balls for Mom (well, until Mom discovered her peanut allergy!), a medium one with crunchy butterscotch cookies for Dad, and a humongous one—2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and filled to the brim—with soft sugar cookies for my brother and me.
Before pouring our typical bowls of Rice Krispies or Cornflakes, my brother and I crammed at least three of them in our mouths, much to Mom’s dismay. With their pale golden hue and tall rounded shape, those buttery cookies called our names louder than any unopened gift bag or toy, and Grandma even topped each pillowy treat with festive red and green sugar sprinkles. Irresistible!
This year, I created my own healthier spinoff of Grandma’s traditional cookies. I lightened up the cookie dough, lowering the fat and calories, while still preserving their soft texture and buttery flavor. And of course they just had to contain those cute holiday sprinkles!
For the base, I started with a dough very similar to my ultimate chocolate chip cookies that you love so much. It consists of cornstarch for softness, melted butter for chew, brown sugar for more chewiness, and a little extra vanilla to boost the buttery flavor. Because of those 4 cookie-ingredient secrets, my batch turned out just as soft as Grandma’s indulgent one… But even chewier!
To add my own creative twist, I swapped her colored sugar sprinkles for red and green jimmies (the long skinny sprinkles) and mixed them into the cookie dough to make funfetti cookies. Aren’t those bright speckles of color popping through the cookie dough the cutest holiday touch? Any larger Christmassy sprinkles will do (confetti, snowflakes, trees, etc), but do NOT use nonpareils (the tiny spherical-shaped ones) or colored sugar. The latter two will dissolve into the cookie dough, leaving streaks of color that meld together into an unappetizing shade of gray.
But I couldn’t stop with just the sprinkles! I also stirred in white chocolate chips, which rounded out the holiday palette. Red, green, and white—the classic Christmas color trio! If white chocolate isn’t your thing, swap it out for regular chocolate chips. Or butterscotch chips (like Grandma’s cookies for Daddy!). Or toffee bits. Whatever flavor your heart desires!
Just after mixing, the cookie dough is fairly tacky, so you must chill it for at least 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step! It makes the cookie dough easier to work with. That short stint in the fridge reduces the tackiness while still allowing the cookies to spread a little as they bake. If you prefer really thick cookies that don’t spread, chill for at least 2 hours (same as these coffee cookies and chocolate chip cookies). The longer you chill, the thicker the cookies will be.
After shaping the cookie dough on the baking sheet, I pressed a few extra white chocolate chips into the tops. It gives them a finished, polished look and adds to their allure. Don’t you just want to sneak one off the screen?
Bake these healthier cookies for 11-13 minutes—no more! Although they may look and feel underdone, the centers continue to cook on the hot baking sheet while they cool, and pulling them out sooner prevents the outsides from turning crispy and crunchy. This keeps the cookies extra soft, and they’ll stay that way for up to an entire week!
After waiting around for the cookies to cool, I asked my guy if he wanted to split one. I gave him the first bite—which turned into two—which turned into everything but a small nibble he left for me. My guy is the pickiest (dessert) eater in the entire world, and he even reached for a second cookie later!
These White Chocolate Funfetti Cookies are incredibly moist and tender. The festive sprinkles in each soft, chewy bite melt in your mouth, and the creamy white chocolate morsels dissolve on your tongue. Buttery vanilla undertones linger long after you’ve swallowed the final crumb, tempting you to sneak one more—or maybe two—from the cheerful holiday tray.
And if you leave some out for Santa with his milk, he just might stick around until you bake more!