Holiday Shortbread Cookies

5 Ingredient Winning Recipe

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Holiday Shortbread

These Holiday Shortbread Cookies have just five base ingredients: butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, flour, and salt.

Do you think shortbread is a “best-ever” type of cookie? We do! File these cookies as a top favorite!

This cookie’s best characteristic is how adaptable the recipe is. Customize it with different flavors or make them into sandwich cookies like these! You simply put peppermint and green food color in the dough. Melted, spreadable chocolate is the filling.

They will remind you of Girl Scout thin mint cookies.

I first came across this much-loved recipe as lemon lavender cookies when Jennifer Dickie won “best cookie” at the 2014 Indiana State Fair. Gold Medal Flour supported the contest. For a base recipe, I left out the lemon zest and lavender, and added vanilla. You can find that lemon lavender cookie recipe here.

After tweaking the amount of flour and upping the butter (because, why not) we got the exact texture we wanted. Butter gives this cookie its melt-in your-mouth texture. You’re going to love them!

Red Shortbread Cookies in a Bowl

Holiday Shortbread Cookies-Make Your Colors Pop

Added 12/29/2020: I’ve been asked about the color intensity of these cookies. I used-and loved-Amoretti’s Natural Red Food Color. As a result, the shortbread takes on a deep rich color that really pops. Another benefit: you need far less that most other food colorings to achieve an intense color.

If you’re a big fan of colorful cookies, be sure to also try these raspberry sweet treats.




Holiday Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks butter (1 cup), unsalted, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 1/4 cups flour (270 grams), sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: red food coloring (2 or more drops), or your favorite

Optional: your favorite extract (1/2 or 1 teaspoon)


In large mixing bowl, beat butter and vanilla on medium-high until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, until well combined. Add sifted flour and salt, mixing until just combined.  If desired, add red food coloring (until you reach desired shade). Mix until uniform in texture and color. Wrap in plastic and chill dough 10 minutes (or longer).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough onto floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. You may need to let the dough warm towards room temperature, depending on how long you’ve chilled it. Cut out desired shapes. Remove extra dough and repeat until all dough is used. Bake just until lightly browned on bottom, about 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Move to cooling rack to cool. Makes 24 cookies, oe more, depending on size.

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