Jan 23


Shortbread Cookie Recipe {& Alice in Wonderland Cookies}

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I have yummy news! I’m ready to share another recipe with you… A recipe I like to use as cookie decorating base… Melt-in-your-mouth, delicious, buttery shortbread.

The taste difference between it and my sugar cookie recipe is subtle, but this one definitely tastes like a traditional shortbread, and *gasp* has one whole cup of cornstarch in it! I couldn’t believe it when I first made it, and was a little doubtful about how successful the recipe would be, but it turns out that the cornstarch in this version of shortbread is what helps give the cookie a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ sensation. Thanks to my dear friend Kim whom I adore, for sharing her family’s recipe with me… She’s not on-line, but she’s crazy about baking too, and we’ve experienced many sweet adventures together.

The original shortbread isn’t made with cornstarch and has quite an interesting history, b.t.w., and as it’s often served with tea, I thought it would be fun to make a few Alice in Wonderland decorated cookies with it.

Once Upon A Cookie

Kind of fitting with the whole tea time thing, are these Alice in Wonderland cookies. I can’t wait to make a whole series of other Alice characters, but for now I’m excited to be starting a series of just princess cookies copied from this piece of art. {Thank you, suisei-ojii-sama!} It’s the beginning of another theme I’m looking forward to playing around with… Cookies based on fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes. There are so many inspirational images and characters out there, I’m looking forward to getting going on these! Besides making a fairytale or fable princess cookie or two each month, I’d like to also do a more extensive collection here and there, like Jack and Jill nursery rhyme cookies.

Do you have a fairytale, fable or nursery rhyme favorite? Which would you like to see cookies made of? Do you have any beautiful images of your favorites you’d like to share?

I haven’t forgotten about the travel theme either… Thanks so much for your amazing suggestions! I have so many great ideas now, thanks to you!

And before I share the yum, yum, yum shortbread cookie recipe, if you’re here trying to decide which recipe you’d like to try for your decorated cookies, I thought I’d do a little comparison between two similar recipes for you, shortbread and sugar cookies.

Cookie Recipe Comparison – Shortbread and Sugar Cookies

I noticed a few key differences between this shortbread and my sugar cookie recipe, which I’ll share with you in case you’d like to make them too:

  • The texture of the shortbread dough after mixing is smooth and easy to eat work with. The sugar cookie recipe is a stickier dough, and needs to be rolled between parchment and chilled to be able to work with. The taste is worth it though! Both taste scrumptious, in my humble opinion, but the shortbread cookie is easier to make and work with.
  • The shortbread melt-in-your mouth taste is yummy, but it means the cookies break easier, unfortunately. They’re fine to serve in a bakery, for a function, give to friends etc., but if I were shipping cookies, I would choose the sugar cookie recipe.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it out:

Shortbread Cookie {Recipe}

{Click to print}


Sweet of the Month & Other Sweet Tidbits

A few sweet morsels of information I’d love to share with you:

  • The Alice cookie shape was made by hand cutting the dough with a paring knife. Easy enough to do if you’re only doing a few cookies, but a heads-up in case you don’t already know, time-consuming if you’re doing a lot of them. There’s got to be a cutter out there you could use though (drop me a line please if you see one), or even just pipe her on a rectangular cookie.
  • I used a Kopykake projector to help me pipe Alice’s shape.
  • Click here for the royal icing recipe I used.
  • Wouldn’t these adorable Alice in Wonderland printables from The TomKat Studio be perfect for a Wonderland party?! I’m thinking that when I make Alice cookies again (with more of the characters and images), I’ll need to attach these sweet tags from TomKat’s shop to the cookie bags.
  • If you’d like to make these Alice cookies as a gift, but don’t have the time to make too many, wouldn’t these be a nice added touch? Just had to share with you!
  • A new Sweet of the Month is up! I’ve changed it to monthly in order to give you more time to vote and more time to prepare if you’re interested in entering. You can find more information on the Sweet of the Month in the FAQ section and can vote for your favorite sweets HERE until February 18th, and if you’d like to enter into the next contest, watch out for a post announcing the dates. I’m thinking maybe we’ll make the next one a Spring/Easter theme.

Drop me a line below, do you have a fairytale, fable or nursery rhyme favorite? Which would you like to see cookies made of? Do you have any beautiful images of your favorites you’d like to share?

Have fun baking!





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  1. Michelle
    February 6, 2014 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    quick question do you use salted or unsalted butter for this recipe? Thanks in advance!

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Michelle,
      Unsalted butter :)

  2. Zil E
    April 1, 2014 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Hi…can I substitute butter with vegetable oil or olive oil?

    • kerys
      November 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Butter is one of the signature ingredients of shortbread (along with sugar and flour). I wouldn’t recommend trying to swap it out. If you were to do so, and end up with something edible, it wouldn’t be shortbread.

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Agreed with Kerys, thanks!

  3. wendy
    April 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I have made your shortbread recipe MANY times for decorating. It is a great dough and the cookies are delicious. Is there a way to keep them from bubbling when baked? Some cookies always come out with air bubbles in them. I think if I pricked them with a fork the holes would show through the icing.

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Wendy,
      Try mixing the dough just enough to incorporate the ingredients and stop right away (incorporate less air). If you do get some, when they come out of the oven, pat them gently (and quickly, they will be hot). Hope that helps!

  4. April 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    What kind of flour did you use? Was it all purpose flour?


    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Gloria,
      Yes, all purpose flour.
      Happy baking!

  5. April 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I just love these. That little Alice cookie is darling. Where did you get that little white lacey plate?

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pretties and Pastries,
      From Pier One Imports. :)

  6. Wendy Top
    June 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I am just baking my probably 30th batch of your shortbread cookies. I use a modified royal icing recipe to decorate and I always get raves. My husband especially likes, “the delicious mouth sand” the cookies make! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! I had never cut any cookies out before and this recipe is very easy to work with. I just had to let you know you are a hero to me!!!

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Yay! Hi Wendy, I’m so glad you had a great experience, and I love your husband’s description!

  7. Julie
    October 7, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Can these shortbread be made for so done who is lactose and gluten free?
    Where can I purchase the cookie cutters like these?
    Thank you

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      HI Julie,
      I’m sorry I haven’t tried substituting with the ingredients needed to make it lactose and gluten free. Please let me know if you do or did – how did it go?
      I had cut the Alice cookie and I’m not sure where the mushroom cutter is from anymore, but if you search mushroom cutter on google images, you will see it.

  8. Angela
    October 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I was delighted to try your recipe. I had my cookies cut out, in the oven, and ready to check how long to bake, but that information wasn’t included in the recipe. How long do you bake them for??

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Angela,
      It depends on the size but about 10-12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.

  9. December 18, 2014 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    When making your shortbread cookies, can I cut cornstarch in half so cookie won’t be so crumbly or will it ruin texture?

    • marian
      December 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jeannie,
      I’m sorry, I haven’t tried that so couldn’t tell you for sure.

  10. Karen
    December 22, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian.

    I’ve made these cookies last Christmas and loved them. I love the flavor of Cardomom. I was wondering if adding a little spice to the mixture would offer a different result in texture? I’ve seen other recipes that use cardamom, but I like your recipe for its taste and texture.

    Thanks for your advise. Merry Christmas.

    • marian
      December 23, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Karen,
      Cardomom would definitely add a different layer of flavour, but if you’re not adding too much, no, it shouldn’t affect the texture.
      Merry Christmas! xo

  11. Stephanie C
    December 28, 2014 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    I would like to try your shortbread recipe above.
    I am a bit confused with it saying 1 cup or 5 ounces. Here our cup is 8 ounces.
    Should I go with measuring out the ounces and not go with ” cups”?
    I would appreciate hearing from you.
    May you and yours have a HAPPY, HEALTHY and SAFE NEW YEAR

    • Kaledsmom
      January 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      8 ounces per cup pertains to liquid measurements. One cup of powdered sugar weighs less than one cup of water. Hope that helps.

  12. Jessica
    January 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry if I’ve missed this information for the recipe but could you let me know to what thickness you roll this dough to and how many cookies does it make of what size cookies approximately? I need to make 45 3″ cookies for my daughters first birthday party and I want to know how batches I will need to make approximately. With thanks, Jessica

    • marian
      January 14, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Jessica,
      I don’t always roll my dough out the same thickness (here is a post on that; http://sweetopia.net/2013/11/how-thick-or-thin-do-you-roll-your-cookie-dough-how-do-you-make-the-dough-even/ ) so I can’t tell you *exactly* how many 3″ cookies this dough will make (even a 3″ cutter can be very different depending on whether it’s a skinny shape, fuller shape etc.), but I can tell you that this recipe should make *approx.* 30-35 3″ cookies though. Maybe make two batches just in case… and if you have extra dough you could freeze it for future use. Hope that helps!

  13. Bridget
    January 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi! My mom loves your videos and we were wondering if you have a recipe or any suggestions on making lemon flavored short bread cookies. Thanks!

    • marian
      February 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bridget,
      Sorry for the delay! Here is my lemon sugar cookie recipe:

      You can find all my cookie recipes by clicking at the top of the blog, the word Recipes, then you’ll see the title “Cookie Recipes” with 3 recipes listed… Wait until the words “See More” below that loads, click on that, and you’ll see all the cookie recipes I have.

      Happy baking!

  14. Lisa
    February 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Can these be rolled out, cut out , then frozen so that they can go straight into the oven? Or do they have to defrost first? Also how long in advance can they be made and decorated? Many thanks

  15. Beth
    February 23, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Shortbread is my favorite!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love adding flavorings! I know you have a note about flavorings but the “pin it” icon is covering that information! Could you please tell me how much flavoring to add? Thanks!

    • marian
      March 13, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Hi Beth,
      If you click on the words “Click to Print” above the recipe, you’ll be able to see it without the Pin It button or watermark. I’d tell you, but the flavoring amounts are different according to which one you chose.
      Happy baking!

  16. RubyBloom Cookeis
    March 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Were you able to figure out the best cookie cutter for Alice? Thank you!

    • marian
      March 13, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Hi RubyBloom Cookies,
      I’m sorry, I haven’t. Another option is to make your own cutter using a cookie cutter kit.

  17. Laura O
    April 2, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    the pastel bunnies are cute, can you show how you did it?? It’s so adorable. I’m trying to get mine as good as yours!

  18. Smileyrie
    July 5, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this recipe. Was dubious about the cornflour & thought the dough tasted a bit too floury so added a little bit of raw sugar. But as promised, they are very light & melt in the mouth crumbly but hold their shape really well

  19. E
    September 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Just wondering what does this taste like if you add 1 egg? will it still be decent tasting but stronger? Thanks

  20. Marian
    October 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Marian, Have you tried this recipe with flavoring? If so, can you add too much? Also have you tried this recipe with salted butter?

  21. October 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    i have never decorated cookies with this type of icing. If I use your recipe, will it dry hard to where I can stack them, maybe with wax paper in between ? or is it sticky?

  22. December 2, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    What is the shelf life for these cookies? I’ve been asked to create cookies for a large department store but I use a sugar cookie recipe that has a shorter shelf life. I need a good recipe that can be decorated and last for 4-6 months without refrigeration. Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance for you help!

  23. becca
    January 3, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Thanks for the tips! I tried making shortbread cookies so many times and they never came out the way I wanted. This time I added cornstarch tho… they cookies spread out soon much for some reason. They tasted fine, but they were so “out of shape”:( I did put the dough in the fridge before baking. I wonder what went wrong?

    Thank you!

  24. January 13, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Marian! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’ve made these once, and they were perfect! I want to make them again, but I was wondering if I can make the dough and put it in the fridge overnight, and use it within the next day. Will it get dry or soggy?
    Thank you in advance! ;)

    • Marian
      August 24, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Nadia,
      Sorry i missed your question earlier.
      You can put the dough in the fridge overnight no problem, just make sure it’s air tight.

  25. I checked them an hour later and they had gone soft... Help! What did I do wrong? I will have to bake again in the morning or can I salvage the ones I have made?
    May 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have recently made a number of cookies. Let them cool and stored in an air tight container. I took a day icing flooding about 50. I waited for them to dry. Stored them in an airtight container as suggested in your site. I checked them an hour later and they had gone soft… Help! Can I salvage them or will I need to remake?

    • marian
      May 17, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Hi Naomi,

      Take the cookies out of the container and place them on baking sheets to dry again. They should firm up. The humidity in the air does affect drying… If it’s humid where you’re living now, I would suggest putting a dehumidifier in the room. Put them in individual cellophane bags once they’re dry – that will help minimize moisture during storage.

      I hope that helps!

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