Decorated Shortbread Cookies

Cookies are one of my fav things to make. Some people have asked me what my baking specialty is and I keep coming back to cookies. There are just so many kinds and so many ways to make them and everyone smiles when they have a cookie, it’s universal. I hadn’t yet made shortbread cookies for the blog and I’ve seen some other folks make the cutest decorated shortbread cookies on Instagram and I just had to make some as well. They’re so fun, so flexible, and can be plain or ornately decorated, whatever makes you happiest!

The cookies themselves are delicious and so, so simple. Just make sure your butter is room temp and you cream the butter and sugar together really, really well. It should be almost white in color by the time it’s done. After you’ve got the cookies rolled out, you can go to town with the decorations. I decorated mine with some polka dots and dipped them in chocolate, but there are so many options! Here are some thoughts:

  • Decorating with dyed dough. Simply take some of your dough, probably less than 1/4th of the total dough, and dye it with food coloring. Roll it out as thinly as possible, then pop in in the freezer to make it super easy to cut out and stick to the main dough. So cute and there’s so many cool ways you can take this! Just keep in mind that when you stick the colored dough onto the main dough and roll it back out a bit you’ll flex the shapes a tiny bit, so cutting things out that are super detailed or intricate may not work too well.
  • Decorating with chocolate. Melt some chocolate with a bit of neutral oil to make it the perfect texture for dipping. Dip half of the cookies, or just one side, into the chocolate and let set before enjoying.
  • Decorating with sprinkles. Maybe the easiest option! Sprinkle some sprinkles over your cookies before baking to add a pop of color with very low effort.
  • Get Creative! You can absolutely combine these decorating methods. Dip the cookies in chocolate and then add some sprinkles before the chocolate sets. Or decorate with some dyed dough AND sprinkles. You do you, friends!

These are a new favorite for sure! Let me know what decorations you come up with – I’m sure they’ll all be beautiful and so tasty.

Decorated Shortbread Cookies
makes 9-12


cookie dough

  • 2 sticks (226 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (210 g) flour

for decorating

  • food coloring, optional
  • 1/2-1 cup chocolate, optional
  • 2-3 tsp oil, optional
  • sprinkles, optional

How to do it

  1. prep: preheat the oven to 350*
  2. cream the butter and sugar: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and sugar and combine on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes until light, fluffy, and almost white in color
  3. finish the dough: add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. add the flour and mix on low until just combined
  4. add food coloring, if using: if you want to decorate with dyed dough, take 1/4 of the dough or less and dye it your desired color.
  5. chill the dough: form the dough into rectangles, cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes or up to overnight
  6. roll out the dough: on a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough to between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. if you chilled the dough overnight, let it warm up a bit on the counter for a few minutes so that it can roll out without cracking
  7. roll out the dyed dough, if using: put the non-dyed dough in the fridge and roll out the dyed dough on a sheet of parchment paper as thin as possible. pop it in the freezer for about 5 minutes, then cut out your shapes. I used a round piping tip to get some circles. dab a bit of water onto each shape then place on the chilled, non-dyed dough. roll out gently with a rolling pin to make sure it all sticks
  8. add sprinkles, if using: if you want to decorate with sprinkles, scatter some over the rolled out dough and press down gently to make sure they stick
  9. cut out and bake: cut out your cookies using cookie cutters or a sharp knife. place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookies. they’re done when they’re just golden brown on the edges
  10. cool: let cool for 5-7 minutes on the pan then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  11. decorate with chocolate, if using: once the cookies are fully cooled, combine the chocolate and oil in a microwave safe bowl. microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until fully melted. dip the cookies in the chocolate and place on parchment paper to set. sprinkle with sprinkles, if using.
  12. enjoy! store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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