Baking has always been my passion, and as a child, I'd bake dozens and dozens of cookies to give to family and friends, and the most requested cookies were always my gumdrop cookies.
The original version of this recipe came from my neighbor. When she first handed me a gumdrop cookie, I resisted, but once I finally gave in and took a bite, I couldn't get enough.
Each soft sugar cookie is loaded with sweet little gems of fruity goodness.
This recipe has evolved a bit over the years and is still my most requested cookie at the holidays or any time of year.
I personally enjoy the lemon, orange, grape, lime, and cherry flavors that the brightly colored gumdrops bring to these cookies, but they can be made with just red and green and even white gumdrops for Christmas if you prefer.
For Valentine's Day, you can fill these gumdrop cookies with red (and white or pink) gumdrops.
Orange and purple gumdrops make fun Halloween cookies and yellow, purple, pink, and orange gumdrops look festive for Easter. There are so many possibilities.
Let's make gumdrop cookies!
Watch the video to see how easy these cookies are to make.
To make gumdrop cookies you'll need:
- You can use giant fruit-flavored gumdrops or fruit slices. You can find these at most grocery or drug stores in the candy aisle.
- DO not use spice-flavored gumdrops unless you really want spice-flavored cookies.
- If you buy the giant gumdrops, the black ones will probably be licorice-flavored. I personally would not use them in my cookies. If you love licorice and want to make some licorice gumdrop cookies, keep them separate and reserve some dough to mix them into.
- You'll cut the gumdrops and coat the sticky sides in sugar before mixing the candy pieces into the dough.
- Country Crock Sticks or unsalted butter
- I have been using Country Crock Baking Sticks to make this recipe since I was a kid.
- The Country Crock Baking Sticks are soft so they do not need to sit out at room temperature like butter does before making cookie dough.
- They impart a very mellow flavor thereby allowing the gumdrops to be the star of the show in these cookies.
- If you can't find Country Crock Sticks you can use butter or margarine instead.
- large eggs
- vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- I personally love using vanilla bean paste in all my cookie-baking because it doesn't bake out like vanilla extract so the flavor is more pronounced.
- baking powder
- Cut using kitchen shears. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut gumdrops into small pieces.
- You will find that using kitchen scissors will be much quicker and easier than using a knife.
- Spray the kitchen shears with baking spray, wiping off any excess spray before cutting. This will keep the gumdrops from sticking too badly.
- Wash your scissors often and respray as needed.
- Toss cut gumdrops in sugar. Drop the cut pieces of gumdrops into a bowl of sugar then toss to coat.
- As you cut the gumdrops, coat the sticky part in sugar to make cutting easier.
- Remove from sugar and shake off the excess.
- You'll want the gumdrop pieces to be relatively small, about ¼ inch or so in length.
Step 1: Make cookie dough.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° C).
- Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) Country Crock Baking Sticks and 1 ¾ cup sugar together until fluffy.
- Mix in 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- In a separate bowl whisk together 3 ½ cups flour, ¾ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until blended.
Step 2: Add gumdrops.
- Mix in about half of the gumdrop pieces into the cookie dough.
- You can mix them all in, but I like to add gumdrop pieces to the top of my cookies to make them look more colorful.
Step 3: Scoop dough.
- Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough using a spoon or preferably a #30 ice cream scoop, onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- I always bake my cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. They don't stick and clean-up is a breeze.
Step 4: Flatten cookies.
- These cookies do not flatten out in the oven, so you have to flatten them. You can, if you'd like, flatten them all individually using your hands but I'm going to share a little trick that we used to use in my store (when we'd bake thousands of these cookies every week).
- Place a piece of parchment paper over the tray of cookie dough.
- Set another baking sheet over the parchment paper.
- Press down on the baking sheet to flatten the cookies all at once.
- Peel the top piece of parchment paper off of the cookies.
- If your cookies are mishappened, you can easily reshape them into circles.
Step 5: Add more gumdrops.
- Use the remaining gumdrops to fill in the empty spaces on the cookies.
- Add a variety of colored gumdrop pieces to all of the cookies.
Step 6: Bake and cool.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes, just until the tops of the cookies start to look dry.
- Cool cookies on a baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.
Christmas Gumdrop Cookies
You can do the same using red, white, and green gumdrops to make Christmas gumdrop cookies or any other color combination for other holidays.
Be sure to buy fruit-flavored gumdrops. I bought bell-shaped Christmas gumdrops to make my cookies. The red gumdrops are cherry, the green gumdrops are lime-flavored, and the white gumdrops are pineapple-flavored.
How to store gumdrop cookies:
- These cookies are best the day they are made (as are most cookies) but can be stored in an airtight container, preferably a metal cookie tin for up to five days. They'll stay fresh for up to a week but will start to dry out.
- After a few days if the cookies become a little dry, add a piece of white sandwich bread to the container to help soften the cookies up. Leave the bread in the container for a few hours. It will release moisture into the cookies. Remove the dried-out bread and close the container. Your cookies should be a bit softer!
Can I freeze the cookie dough?
- Yes! I freeze this cookie dough all the time.
- You can scoop the cookie dough and set the scoops on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cover and freeze them until firm, then place them in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container until you are ready to bake.
- You can bake the frozen cookies but you'll need to add extra time (3-6 minutes) or you can thaw them and bake them according to the recipe.
- If you prefer you can scoop the dough into a large zip-top bag and freeze it then thaw and scoop later.
- Or you can roll the dough into a few logs, wrap them well in parchment paper then store them in a zip-top bag. When you are ready to bake the cookies, thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes then cut the logs into slices. This is my favorite way to freeze these cookies.
- With any of these methods, be sure to have more cut gumdrop pieces to add to the tops of the cookies before baking.
Can I freeze the baked cookies?
- Definitely! I double this recipe during the holidays and make a lot of cookies that I freeze.
- Wrap small groups of baked and cooled cookies in plastic wrap then place the wrapped cookies in a large zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.