These old fashioned Poinsettia Cookies, made with maraschino cherries, are a festive addition to your holiday baking repertoire!
How sweet are these festive Poinsettia Cookies?! They’re a delightful addition to a Christmas cookie platter or a homemade gift for a friend.
The recipe starts with a classic cookie dough, jazzed up with butterscotch chips and coconut. Then, we’ll flatten the dough, press slivered maraschino cherries into the top, and add yellow sprinkles. The whole thing gets baked and out comes the sweetest little cookies, all dressed up to look like poinsettias.
I found the recipe in a 1983 church cookbook. It was submitted by a woman named Tillie. I’m not sure if it’s Tillie’s own recipe or where she got it, but it’s an absolute gem. In my opinion, the combination of the butterscotch chips and the rum extract really make the cookie!
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- Use a small, sharp knife (such as a paring knife) to slice the maraschino cherries into eighths. I found my chef’s knife to be too large for this task.
- This recipe calls for dipping a glass in sugar, then using it to flatten the dough. If the sugar won’t stick to the glass, moisten the glass with a wet paper towel first.
- Don’t have yellow sprinkles? Use a butterscotch chip for the center of the poinsettia instead.
- Let the maraschino cherries dry on a paper towel before placing on the cookies. This way the cherry juice won’t run onto the cookie dough.
- The cookie dough balls should be approximately 1-inch in diameter. Any larger, and the poinsettia will look small in comparison to the cookie (and not look as nice, in my opinion).
- This is a basic cookie recipe with all the usual ingredients: butter, egg, flour, vanilla, and salt. There is NO leavening agent in these cookies.
- We’ll use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar for the cookie itself. The granulated sugar goes on top of the cookie, before the cherries.
- Rum extract adds an extra punch of flavor. It keeps people guessing and really complements the cherries!
- Mix-ins include butterscotch chips and sweetened coconut.
- Maraschino cherries and yellow sprinkles (I used yellow quins) create the poinsettia on top.
How to make poinsettia cookies
Start by slicing maraschino cherries into eighths. Set the cherries aside to drain on a paper towel.
Then, place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and rum extract. Beat until combined, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour and salt, and beat until combined. Stir in the coconut and butterscotch chips.
Chill the dough for two hours, or up to 24 hours.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on a baking sheet. Dip a drinking glass in granulated sugar, and use the glass to press down on each ball to flatten it slightly.
Arrange eight slices of maraschino cherries on top of each flattened dough ball, to create a spiral that resembles a poinsettia. Place yellow sprinkles in the middle (or use a butterscotch chip instead).
Bake for 12 minutes at 375°F, or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make ahead instructions
You can make Poinsettia Cookies several days in advance of serving them. Bake as directed, and store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
You can also make the cookie dough 24 hours in advance of baking. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can either omit the coconut altogether, or substitute another cup of butterscotch chips in its place.
You can replace the butterscotch chips with chocolate chips if you’d like. You can also just leave them out.
If you don’t have rum extract, replace it with vanilla extract or almond extract. It obviously won’t taste the same, but either of those extracts will add a nice flavor to the finished cookie.
You can use any type of yellow sprinkles that you like, such as yellow quins, yellow jimmies, or yellow sanding sugar. You can also use a butterscotch chip instead of sprinkles for the center of the poinsettia cookie.
More old fashioned Christmas cookies
- Easy Sour Cream Cookies
- Snowball Cookies with Pecans
- Cocoa Drop Cookies
- Grandma’s Rum Balls
- Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon rum extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup butterscotch morsels
- Granulated sugar
- 1 cup maraschino cherries
- Yellow sprinkles OR more butterscotch morsels
- Place powdered sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and rum extract, and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the flour and salt, and stir to combine. Stir in the coconut and butterscotch morsels. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day.
- While the dough is chilling, slice each maraschino cherry into 8 even slices. Place on a paper towel to allow the cherry slices to drain.
- When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F, and place parchment paper or a silicone mat on a baking sheet.
- Roll the dough in 1-inch balls. Place the balls on a a cookie sheet, leaving 1–2 inches between the balls.
- Dip a drinking glass into granulated sugar, and use the glass to press each dough ball down into a disk, about ⅓–½ inch thick.
- Arrange 8 maraschino cherry slices on top of each disk to resemble a poinsettia. Place several yellow sprinkles OR a butterscotch chip in the center.