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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. February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Had to come back again and say… I was a doubting Thomas (or would that be Thomasina?…whatever) I looked at your recipe and thought, “No way! Something’s missing… she must have left something out, eggs, something! I’ll wait and see if she does an “Oops” update with the right ingredients”… well, you didn’t so I broke down and had to try it. These are A-MAZ-ING!!! So delicious… buttery… light. LOVE them. I was also surprised, with that amount of butter, that they held their shape so well too. Thank you for sharing what is now my favorite cut-out cookies.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    HI @ D.J.: That’s hilarious! Yes, I know… when Kim gave me the recipe I was doubtful too! I mean ONE CUP of CORNSTARCH!? Weird! But it does work out. I’m so glad you like them too. =)

  3. February 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    I love all of your work! I just started decorating this year and Im totally addicted! Ha I was hoping you could answer a question……where did you get the edible glitter on the mushrooms?

  4. Erica Winterburn
    February 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to try this cookie recipe. It sounds weird but I’m sure it’ll be great. Its always fun to try out a new recipe.

  5. Katelyn
    February 6, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    About how many sticks is a lb of butter?

  6. marian
    February 6, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Katelyn: 4 sticks. (16 ounces)

  7. yvette
    February 7, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    @ Laura:

    Laura! I’m a red head too and was talking to my daughter recently(she’s a brunette) about how back in my day I never owned a red headed doll because there weren’t any! I was so happy when Little Mermaid came out because there was finally someone that kinda looked like me 🙂

  8. sandy blue
    February 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    @ D.J.:
    shortbread is seldom if ever made with eggs. usually butter and flour and sugar and thats it thats why its so crumbly and melts in your mouth. it is a great cookie orginated from scotland.

  9. February 10, 2012 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    that is so awesome!!:D

  10. Angela
    February 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    You are amazing!! The more i read the more i convince myself that i want to become a decorater do you know of any classes i can take near greely colorado.
    @ Marian (Sweetopia):

  11. Katherine
    February 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Can you please show us how to make Alice step by step? I saw the other disney princesses and would like to try the other ones! 🙂

  12. Norma Mendez
    February 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I made the recipe, delicious, but lost the shape of the cutter, what was wrong. I chill 1 hr after cut them.

  13. February 18, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Question for you, do you think this recipe would work well for shaping cookies and not cut outs? Looking for one that would be good to be handled a little bit to make into ropes and then bent into different shapes – Like a pretzel if you will.

  14. marian
    February 18, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Jennifer Paul Gibson: No, I don’t think so, sorry. It would be fine to handle when it was in dough form, but it’s quite delicate once it’s baked… so I’m not sure how well it would do in a solid pretzel-like form. It might break easily. The sugar cookie dough would do better. If it’s sticky for you while you’re making ropes, add some flour. Hope that helps!

  15. marian
    February 18, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Hi @ yvette: Yes, I need to make her! =)

    @ sandy blue: Thanks so much for sharing that info.!

    @ Angela: I’m sorry, I don’t, but will keep an ear out for you.

    @ Katherine: On my ‘to do’ list, absolutely!

    @ Norma Mendez: This post should help you: http://sweetopia.net/2011/04/top-8-tips-on-preventing-cookies-from-spreading/

  16. February 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Marian, I kind of figured but didn’t hurt to ask. Actually while I was waiting for your reply I had a whole different idea on how to use this which I think will work perfectly. Another question – How thick did you roll these out? Same as the sugar cookies or thinner?

  17. marian
    February 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    @ Jennifer Paul Gibson: Same as the sugar cookies in that sometimes I roll it out thick and sometimes thin… Honestly, not being evasive 😉 you can roll it out however you like it to be. I just go with my mood!

  18. Hannah
    February 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink


    Can you explain how to know which color to do first and how to “layer” the colors. With Alice for example which colors did you do first and let dry, and then the next colors and then wait and let dry. Is there a general rule I can follow to decorate?

    Thanks! I am so excited to follow your blog!!

  19. Aly
    February 28, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    i would just like to know what’s the difference of this shortbread recipe with your sugar cookie… I’m planning to make cookie giveaways, and I’ve got tons of inspiration from you. Its just that now, I’m so confused what recipe to settle on.

  20. February 28, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Hannah: I’m working on a video for you! Easier to show than explain. For now, basically – Pipe face and arms outline, let dry. Fill in. Outline the bottom layer (hair, basic dress), let dry, fill in, let dry, pipe apron outline, let dry, fill in. Add facial details. Sounds a lot more complicated than it is. Lol.

    @ Aly: I’ve compared them in the post under the title, “Cookie Recipe Comparison – Shortbread and Sugar Cookie Recipe”.

  21. Tessy Lopez
    February 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi there! im a fan of your cookies!!! im looking for the sugar cookies recipe but can´t find it, could you pls give it to me? Txs

  22. Aly
    February 29, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    @ Marian (Sweetopia):
    thanks! i’ve just downloaded your “Cookie Decorating Schedule”… you’re so organized!

  23. February 29, 2012 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Tessy Lopez: Absolutely! Look at the top of the site where there are headings, and click under recipes. When you get there, you’ll see the title Cookie Recipes…. there it is.

  24. February 29, 2012 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    HI @ Aly: Well, i TRY! Some weeks are better than others! 😉

  25. March 4, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Marian, there are several of us that are completely fascinated with this cookie, and would like to know if you’d be willing to do a tutorial on it? How do you get the lines so smoothe, do you use wet on wet techniques, etc. We’ve been talking about you(were your ears burning???) Any advice you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Sharon @ the Plaid Cookie

  26. Adrianne
    March 6, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Dear Marian,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’ve tried it and it tasted marvellous. I added some orange zest and 1/4 tsp ground cardamom and it’s really zesty and warm! I didn’t decorate it and I had it plain with some hot chamomile tea. Yummms!

  27. marian
    March 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ sharon gibson(The Plaid Cookie): Absolutely, yes! It will just be a matter of time until I post it. xo

    @ Adrianne: Well that does sound nice! You’ve got me wanting to try that too!

  28. Karen
    March 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    How many cookies does this recipe make? I guess just normal sized ones.

  29. marian
    March 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Karen: About 30.

  30. Karen
    March 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! Also, how do you roll out the dough between the parchment? Can the recipe be halved? I’m making these for my niece. 🙂

  31. marian
    March 9, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    HI @ Caroline: I just found your question in my email – sorry I missed it! Amazon and locally (I get to her store about once per year), The Bonnie Gordon College.

  32. marian
    March 9, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Hi @ Karen: I’ll have to do a video showing how I do it, I think it will be difficult to explain it… Sorry it’s not ready yet! But yes, the recipe can be halved.

  33. Karen
    March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    @ marian:
    Thank you! I Love your videos! Can’t wait for the parchment paper video. 🙂

  34. Bailey
    March 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I know this is in the comment above, but would you just put the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll or is it more complicated? By the way, your royal icing is delicious! 🙂

  35. marian
    March 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    @ Karen, @ Bailey: It’s really not difficult, not to worry. I prefer parchment paper to flour. You may want to put the parchment on a non-slip mat or very thin, damp cloth, so it doesn’t slide around.

  36. Bailey
    March 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    @ marian:
    Thank you! One more question, though. Do you put flour on your rolling pin, or will that mess up the dough?

  37. marian
    March 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    @ Bailey: No need to if your’e rolling between parchment paper.

  38. Aly
    March 12, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Marian, thank you so much for sharing your royal icing and sugar cookie recipe. I’ve tried some other recipes before but yours are perfect. My family and friends love them! I hope to learn more from you… 🙂

  39. Bailey
    March 12, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks! I made this last night! It tastes great! I’m just wondering, would you chill the dough in the fridge with a piece of parchment on top or could you take it off?

  40. katy
    March 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi there!
    I will be using this recipe to make shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day. How far in advance can I make the cookies and they still be like new?

  41. Annette
    March 16, 2012 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    First off, thanks for all that you have posted in your blog and on You Tube. I do believe that the good you are putting out will come back to you, and I want to see you have really nice things happen for you. You have helped so many of us with so much. And, “THANK YOU!”.

    Your piping skills are as good as Nadia’s of My Little Bakery. She has knocked me out, and now, you are of the same quality! I watched your video and greatly appreciated watching you do the lace cookies.

    I am going to cut this recipe down to a quarter of it’s volume. I am confused about your dry weights. If I take a measuring cup and scoop icing sugar or corn starch, a cup is going to be more than the 5 ounces you have posted next to the one cup measurement. If it’s really a weighted amount, than I won’t use my measuring cups, and will use my digital scale. Should the shortbread ingredients be weighed out, or measured the old Betty Crocker way? Is it one cup (8 oz) or 5 oz of icing sugar, and 5 oz of corn starch? Same with the flour. Three cups is 24 oz, and not 15 oz. Which is the best way to go?

  42. Annette
    March 16, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    @ Annette:
    Dorie Greenspan uses browned butter and some toasted flour in her sables recipe. I tried that with my chocolate chip recipe and the results put people in Cookie Heaven. I think I am going to brown part of the butter your recipe calls for, and put a vanilla bean in the butter as it browns. Oh, what flavor that will add! I will add a bit of toasted flour, too. It gives a nutty flavor, too. I think about an ounce of water will evaporate from a 4 ounce piece of butter that I brown, so I will add no more than one ounce of water to compensate. I have also learned to use the Domino brand of sugar and not the Walmart store brand, as the sugars used are different in each bag. Domino is real sugar, Walmart is beat sugar that is processed. That is key to a good dough, too. Anyway, I love your recipe and scoured the internet to find that there is only one other person who is using somewhat the same ingredients and having a fantastic response from her readers, too. I can’t wait to get started with this recipe tomorrow, as the kitchen is close at 2:40 in the morning. LOL! I can see me getting out all my supplies, but people have to go to work in the morning, LOL!!! I think with what Doris has taught me from her blog and my experiments, I am going to wind up with a cookie that is phenomenal and will become a classic in our house!

  43. marian
    March 16, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you @ Aly!

    @ Bailey: I’d keep it on the dough, just in case anything else in the fridge dripped etc. -best to keep it on for sanitary purposes.

    Hi @ katy: Click on over to the tutorial section for the answer to that question (How long do decorated cookies stay fresh….).

    Hi @ Annette: Wow, I’m thoroughly impressed with your ‘zest’ for baking (sorry, I couldn’t resist)! For the measurements, I actually weiged them out, and that’s how I got my numbers… Perhaps we use a different method of gathering our ingredients (i.e. aerating the flour), or is it possible that different flours etc. have different weights? I will have to do a video to show me making this recipe, but for now, yes, those are the weights I use. I can’t wait to hear how the little alterations go – please come back and share. Thanks for dropping by and have fun today!

  44. March 18, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Those are some gorgeous cookies!

  45. kirsty
    March 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi – am looking at making shortbread cookies as i love them and miss them since moving from uk to canada – silly question but I didn’t see on the instructions how long you cook for – maybe I am being really blind today – sorry if it is staring me in the face xx

Show Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. […] If you’d like to try the recipes I used in the video, you can find my royal icing here, and the shortbread cookie recipe, here. […]

  2. […] Cinderella decorated cookie is the second in a series of princess cookies (Click here to find the first one), copied from this piece of art. {Thank you, suisei-ojii-sama!}. I tried to stay true to […]

  3. […] were in the oven, and almost ended up burning them!  I generally like the look of a just-baked shortbread cookie, but actually didn’t mind how the small kokeshis turned out… and I ended up enjoying […]

  4. […] you decide to make these, I used a barbeque skewer to make the holes in the dough before I baked […]

  5. […] Shortbread Cookie Recipe here […]

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