Preview: These iced shortbread cookies are simple but irresistible. Check out the super-cool method for rolling out the dough and cutting it into shapes.
What if you could make cut-out Shortbread Cookies that didn’t make a big mess on your kitchen counter? Try this neat-as-a-pin method to roll out the shortbread and cut it into shapes such as these butterflies.
Like most people, I reserve cut-out cookies (aka biscuits) for holiday celebrations. They seem like a lot of trouble.
I have a solution to save the day. But first, let’s talk about the ingredients in these cookies.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- BUTTER: Salted or unsalted butter are both excellent choices. Margarine will not give you the same cookie you see here.
- POWDERED SUGAR: Powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar contributes to the melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes these cookies so popular. If you don’t have access to powdered sugar, try making it with granulated sugar and a blender.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: Instead of vanilla extract, a tiny amount of almond extract could be substituted. Maple extract has its fans, too.
- BAKING POWDER: Baking powder has no substitute. Please don’t use baking soda.
- FLOUR: My favorite flour for this recipe is unbleached all-purpose flour. Next in line is bleached all-purpose flour
- MILK: Whole milk works best in icing for shortbread cookies, but reduced fat milk is OK, too. Although I love to use heavy cream in icing, it’s not the best for cookies because it doesn’t set up as fast.
- FOOD COLORING: This is totally optional, of course. The paste or the liquid is appropriate. However, start with only a drop or two in the beginning so you don’t ruin an entire batch of icing with too much color.
Check out this shortcut:
Sticky dough, cleaning up the sticky dough, getting the shaped sticky dough unstuck from whatever you’re rolling them on and transferring the cookie to a cookie sheet, etc. Ugh!
On top of that, they need to be frosted. Furthermore, the kids usually want to decorate them, too. Just thinking about the potential mess is a “Calgon” moment.
The other day, I ran across a great idea in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking cookbook. It’s so easy!
A simple roll-our secret for Iced Shortbread Cookies:
Open the bag on three sides and let your cookie-cutter go wild. Because the dough has been thoroughly chilled, the cut-out cookies are easy to pick up with your hands or peel off the plastic before transferring to a cookie sheet, ready to bake.
Here’s the best part:
Clean-up is as simple as throwing the bag away. No flour to sweep up. No sticky dough to scrape from your counter or cutting board.
Dorie’s technique is adaptable to most any roll-out-the-dough-and-cut-into-a shape recipe. Give it a try!
FAQ about these shortbread cookies:
If you keep them in an air-tight container, they stay fresh for up to two weeks.
Double wrap them to store in the freezer for up to two months.
Salted butter is the best substitute. Butter is what makes these cookies unique. Margarine or shortening would be a compromise.
A Valentine’s Day Variation:
Try these valentine-shaped shortbread cookies for Valentine’s party or as a special gift. I guarantee the recipient will be thrilled.
If you enjoy these, you will want to try these Irish Shortbread Cookies with green icing.
More shortbread cookies:
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Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.