• 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter or frozen unsalted margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg

Quick and Easy Icing:

  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk, or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350° F, with racks in the middle and lower third of the oven. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a few seconds to mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and put in flour. Pulse-process until the butter is cut into the flour so that the mixture looks like coarse meal.

In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, water, and egg. Whisk lightly to blend. With the processor running, add the egg mixture. Continue to process until the dough just starts to clump together. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. It should start to clump, and should come into a ball as you push it together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough to a scant 1/8 inch thick. Cut with a dreidel-shaped cookie cutter, and place on the cookie sheets. Bake for 5 minutes, switch the cookie sheets top to bottom, and bake another 4 to 7 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove the cookies from the pan, and cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Whisk in the milk and vanilla until smooth. The icing should be very thick but thin enough to spread. If it is not thin enough, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoonful until the icing is the right consistency. Spread the cookies with icing (a small decorating spatula works best). If you are going to use sprinkles, sprinkle them on while the icing is still wet so they stick well. If not using sprinkles, let the icing dry. Add color to the remaining icing and paint on the dreidel letters using a fine artist's brush. For a great accent, sprinkle small, fine sprinkles, such as multicolored tiny balls on the wet lettering (larger sprinkles, such as chocolate sticks, will obscure the letters). If you prefer, the dreidel letters can be painted on un-iced cookies. In all cases, let the decorations dry before storing the cookies. Cookies can be made 1 day ahead, or frozen weeks ahead.

Makes about 50 cookies.