Crispy and buttery Shortbread Cookies are the classic holiday cookies that are so easy to make. It takes only 4 ingredients to make these cookies and you can decorate them with chocolate, holiday sprinkles, or holiday designs. It’s a perfect cookie to make with kids and family.
Holidays is the best time to gather the family around and bake treats. I love this time of year because my son and I get to bake together. He is not usually interested in the baking and cooking process, he just shows up when the food is ready. When it comes to holiday cookies though, he is all about making cookies with me. We have a tradition of making gingerbread man cookies and then decorating them with different funny faces.
Shortbread cookies are our other favorite ones to make because there are so many different ways to decorate them. There are only four ingredients that go into these cookies and it’s simple to make with just a hand mixer. Kids can easily make these cookies themselves, with some adult supervision, of course.
The basic shortbread is crispy and buttery sweet cookies that are great to have with tea for breakfast. Since the basic recipe is so mild and simple, it’s very versatile. You can add many different ingredients to the cookie dough for more flavors. We like to add chocolate chunks, sprinkles, dried cranberries or blueberries, orange or lemon zest, and even M&Ms.
Shortbread cookies are also very good at holding it’s shape together while baking. So whatever shape you make it into or whatever decoration you imprint into the top will remain there while baking. There are actually special rolling pins and stamps on the market meant for decorating tops of cookies by imprinting.
HOW TO MAKE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
These cookies are very easy to make but you have to remember to take extra time in consideration to soften the butter and chill the dough. It really is important to chill the dough to prevent cookies from spreading while baking. So set aside about 30 minutes to soften butter and about an hour to chill the dough.
Once butter is softened, beat it with a mixer for about a minute and then add powdered sugar. Start mixing in sugar on low speed so the dust doesn’t’ splash all over the counter. Beat butter and sugar together for about a minute, until it turns lighter in color and fluffed. Turn off the mixer to add the flour. Start mixing the flour in with a spatula and then switch to the mixer to beat it until dough looks like coarse crumbs.
At this point, switch back to a spatula to finish mixing the dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface to shape.
Shortbread cookies can be shaped in any form, round, square, rectangle, or cut out with cookie cutters. (For instructions with cookie cutters and imprints, see below.)
Shape all the dough into a log. You can leave the dough shaped as a log or flatten the four sides to get square cookies. Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for chill for about an hour.
To Use Cookie Cutters and Imprints:
If you wish to imprint a design into the top of shortbread cookies with a rolling pin or a stamp, don’t shape the dough into a log but gather it all together into a ball. Roll the dough out to about 1/3-1/4 inch thickness with a regular rolling pin first. Use a decorative rolling pin to gently roll over the top. You can also use decorative cookie stamps of cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
Once you have the shapes cut out, place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and pop it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to let the dough chill.
Preheat the oven and then bake.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Take out the dough from the refrigerator. You can use a spatula handle to make little imprints into the cube to get scalloped edges on the cookies, or just leave it round. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into cookies that are about 1/3-1/4 inch thick.
Place cookies on a baking sheet that’s covered with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges start to golden.
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies:
These cookies are wonderful dipped in chocolate because it creates a soft and crunchy texture combination. The crunchy cookie inside is great coated with soft, smooth chocolate.
The easiest way to coat them with chocolate is to use the chocolate melting chips. Follow instruction of the package to melt the chocolate and then dip either half the cookie or a whole one into the warm chocolate. Shake off the excess and place dipped cookie into parchment paper. Cool cookie in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes for chocolate to harden.
Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies:
Chocolate can also be mixed right into the cookie dough. Simply chop a baking chocolate bar into small chunks and mix it into the cookie batter. Follow the rest of the recipe to shape, chill, and bake the cookies.
HOW TO STORE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Store shortbread cookies at room temperature, in an air-tight container. Cookies should last up to 2 weeks stored at room temperature.
You can also freeze cookies for later. Place cooled cookies in an air-tight, freezer friendly container or freezer zip-lock bag. Seal it tight, label, and freeze for 2-3 months.
MORE COOKIE RECIPES TO TRY
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- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
For Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
- 4 oz baking chocolate bar chopped
For Chocolate Dipped Cookies:
- 8 oz chocolate melts amount depends if you want to coat a whole cookie of half
- Let butter soften on the counter for about 30 minutes.
- Beat butter with an electric mixer for about a minute. Turn off the mixer and add powdered sugar.
- Start mixing in sugar on low speed so the dust doesn’t’ splash all over the counter and raise the speed to medium-high. Beat butter and sugar together for about a minute, until it turns lighter in color and fluffed.
- Turn off the mixer to add the flour. Start mixing the flour in with a spatula and then switch to the mixer to beat it until dough looks like coarse crumbs.
- Switch back to a spatula to finish mixing the dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface to shape into a log. (You can also flatten four sides of the log for square cookies.)
- Wrap the dough into plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for chill for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Take out the dough from the refrigerator. You can use the handle of a spatula to make little imprints into the cube to get scalloped edges on the cookies, or just leave it round. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough log into cookies that are about 1/3-1/4 inch thick.
- Place cookies on parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges start to golden.
- Take out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.
To Dip Cookies in Chocolate:
- Melt chocolate melts according to the package instructions.
- Dip either half the cookie or a whole one into the warm chocolate. Shake off the excess and place dipped cookie into parchment paper.
- Cool cookie in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes for chocolate to harden.
To Make Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
- Simply chop a baking chocolate bar into small chunks and mix it into the cookie batter after mixing in flour. Follow the rest of the recipe to shape, chill, and bake the cookies.