cookies and bars

Santa’s Whiskers

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I just love this recipe for these retro cookies called Santa’s Whiskers. I can’t claim that these cookies hold dear, childhood memories for me, because I’ve only recently discovered them.

Apparently, this is a well-loved, Christmastime cookie and truth-be-told I’d never even heard of these little gems before a few weeks ago! Oddly enough, I’ve had this classic recipe sitting and waiting on the pages of two of my favorite cookbooks for years now and I’ve never noticed it before. Seriously, I thumb through the pages of both said collections regularly. Weird.

The first time I saw the recipe titled “Santa’s Whiskers” was in the cookie section of an old Better Homes and Garden cookbook, (not very long ago!) and I remember reading it out loud and commenting that it was an interesting name for a cookie. Shortly after that, I came across the recipe again in an old family collection of hand-written recipe cards and it was then I finally stopped to read the ingredients. I thought they sounded like some merry and bright little cookies and I could hardly wait to make them!

The recipe base is a classic vanilla sugar cookie dough, but it’s festively decorated by folding in some sparkly, glass-like candied cherries, chopped pecans and then it’s rolled in sweetened coconut (a.k.a. the “whiskers” part of this recipe).

Since this old recipe was new to me, I looked around the web out of curiosity and I was hoping to find some more history about it. I didn’t find any more information, but came across several other random posts with a few versions of the recipe. However, you all should know by now that I tend to fall in love with old-timey things and I just had to put this one in my cookie recipe collection here on my page too.

As I made the cookies for the first time, referring to both versions I had on-hand, I found the dough to be extremely dry and crumbly and it was not coming together for me. So, drawing on years of personal sugar cookie-making experience, I added one large, beaten egg to the batter and the problem was solved. These colorful sugar cookies came out beautifully.

So, here is my very slightly adapted version of a vintage recipe for a simple, fun, and really pretty holiday cookie… and I shouldn’t forget to mention that they are pretty yummy too!

Santa’s Whiskers

Recipe by Marcelle at A Little Fish in the Kitchen Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Baking time





Santa will be happy to discover a plate filled with these colorful cookies waiting for him by the Christmas tree! These delicious, vintage-style cookies will also liven up any holiday dessert table.


  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons of each red and green candied cherries (or 3/4 cup of one color of candied cherries), finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup of pecans. very finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup of sweetened, shredded coconut


  • Spread the shredded coconut out evenly onto a plate and set the plate aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a large bowl and a handheld mixer) beat butter for one minute and then add in the sugar. Beat until butter and sugar are well-combined (for about 2 minutes), scraping the side of the bowl.
  • Add in the milk. egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Add in the the flour, one cup at a time. Mix until the batter is just combined.
  • Fold in chopped cherries and pecans. Split dough into two portions and shape into two 8-inch-long rolls of dough. Roll the logs of cookie dough in the shredded coconut until the sides are well-covered. Wrap the rolls of cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour before slicing and baking.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut cookie dough into 1/3-inch thick slices and place them one inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet.ย  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the sides golden brown.
  • Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Serve with milk, coffee or tea and enjoy!


  • Candied cherries should be available in the baking aisle of your super market. Don’t sub maraschino cherries, they are not the same thing
  • Recipe as published on A Little Fish in the Kitchen at All content is owned by Marcelle G. Bolton. Please contact the author for permission to republish.

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  1. I love Better Homes and Gardens recipes- except I like the Australian version better. The American magazine is rather ‘thin’ on content. I have never heard of Santa’s Whiskers before, but these cookies sure do look fun! I remember leaving cookies and milk once for Santa (when I was age 40). I’ll have to stop doing that (just kidding)!

  2. Just wanted to stop back by and wish you all the best in the new year.

  3. What a fun name! And what a wonderful looking recipe — these look SO GOOD! Thanks. And Happy New Year!

  4. good save! these look pretty tasty and i LOVE the name!
    hope you had a great christmas and have a wonderful new year! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I haven't had these cookies in years. ๐Ÿ™‚ Merry Christmas.

  6. These are so sweet! (No pun intended!) I hope you are having a lovely Christmas Eve day – I am enjoying time to catch up!

    ๐ŸŽ„ ๐Ÿพ ๐ŸŽ‰ โ„๏ธ

  7. Hi there Pattie! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your sweet comment! ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm glad I found your blog too, great to meet you!

  8. Hi Dawn thanks for you visit and the kind comment!:)

  9. I love your blog! I also love these cookies, and had completely forgotten about them until I read your recipe. I wish I would have found this sooner because I'd have made them this year. I am going to print it out and pin it, however, and make them next year for sure. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.

  10. These cookies sound yummy! I love the festive colors fo the cookies. I also love the name of the cookies! Happy Holidays!

  11. Hi Greg, thank you! Merry Christmas! :0)

  12. The timing of your discovery of this recipe is just perfect. I'm sure that it was always waiting for you there, right under your "whiskers", for a reason. GREG

  13. Thank you, Angie! Old recipe, but new favorite for us! Merry Christmas to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I have never had those cookies, but I love how they turned out with X'Mas colours and how can they be not delicious with butter and coconut!
    Happy Holidays, Marcelle!

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