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. brenda Jarmusz
    March 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the recipes and info etc. You give on here it’s always useful and very helpful. Your stuff always looks amazing!!! I’m gonna make the cookies today and try your royal icing recipe out as well. Its a lil different from the one i usually make. Can’t wait. Thank you again and God Bless!!

  2. Claudia
    April 8, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian!
    First of all, I would like to let you know how much I appreciate you for putting together such a beautiful and helpful website! I absolutely love your cookies and admire your talent! I am new on baking cookies and I was asked to help my son’s school next week by cooking for a bake sale. This weekend I tried your shortbread cookies recipe and it turned out wonderful! Everybody loved it! I put a little bit more of sugar because I like it a little more sweet but it turned out really good. I made about 200 cookies and froze them all. I basically spent my weekend in the kitchen! LOL
    Next week I plan to decorate them and I am going to try your Royal Icing recipe. Even though it seems to be very simply to make it, I really would love if you could post a video on how to make the royal icing step by step. It might sound a little bit: really? Come on, just follow the recipe lady! But your have no idea for people like me, that has no experience in baking at all, your videos are like GOLD!! LOL
    Anyway, wish me luck and all the best for you! Thank you so much for helping me in my baking adventure!

  3. April 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ brenda Jarmusz: Thanks so much!

    HI @ Claudia: I’m glad to hear your 200 cookies turned out well.
    I completely understand your feelings about learning better from video. We are renovating our kitchen now, but I plan on doing more videos when it’s done!!

  4. Rosie
    May 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian, thanks a million again for your wonderful blog and for sharing all the awesome cookie tips. I have not try the shortbread cookie recipe, but I will tonight!!

    And I just have a couple of questions for you:how do you do such neat and thin outline? I just finished making some bee cookies and even though I used tip #1 my outline got very thick…should I make the icing thicker/thinner? is there such a thing as smaller tips…size 0 mabye??

    Ok, thank you again and have a wonderful day!

  5. marian
    May 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    HI @ Rosie: The outline is actually thicker, but the flood icing covers it a bit so you can’t see how thick it was. There is such a thing as 0 and even 00 PME piping tips though. They do clog easier (check my tutorial section on how to prevent clogging with them). Another tip; make your icing a bit thicker. Hope that helps!

  6. Rosie
    May 30, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian, thank you so much for your prompt response! I will follow your advice…and now I can see that one of my mistakes is that I outline after I flood. I will follow your technique for sure. Thanks a million Marian, you’re a blessing 🙂

  7. May 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely, @ Rosie! Have fun decorating!

  8. Sharlene
    June 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I want to make these and decorate with royal icing for my sons birthday party. I would prefer to make in advance. How long do the shortbread cookies stay fresh and how should I store them? Thanks!

  9. marian
    June 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  10. June 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    What GORGEOUS cookies, I would LOVE to do!
    Not sure HOW I would go re the icing, TRUE!
    Cheers! Joanne

  11. Jaclyn
    June 10, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hi, I had a quick question. I am making wedding dress cookies for a bridal shower this weekend. The cookie cutter shape is similar to your Alice one. Would you suggest using this recipe or your sugar cookie recipe? I am a big nervous with their fragility as I do have to travel about an hour to the shower. Also, I am a new baker and I don’t yet have a mixer, how you suggest improvising the paddle mixing, just gently with a rubber spatula? Thank you!

  12. Jaclyn
    June 10, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    by the way, your cookies are amazing! So very talented! @ Jaclyn:

  13. Ashley
    June 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I read above that this makes 30 average sized cookies but how big would be an average round cookie?

  14. marian
    June 14, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Jaclyn: I would suggest the sugar cookie, as it’s sturdier. If you don’t have a mixer, by hand or with a spatula, as you mentioned. It’ll take a bit of arm work -just an fyi.

    @ Ashley: When I mention average sized cookie, I’m referring to a general size you’d find of cookie cutters sold in the more common grocery stores etc. (not specialty cutters). Not exactly circles, as they all have unique shapes, but about 3cm by 3cm.

  15. Connie
    August 7, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink


  16. Connie
    August 7, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Hi there, I just want to know how long can the baked shortbreads be kept for? Can it last around a month or two if I place them inside the freezer? Thanks

  17. Andrea
    September 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I loved your cookies, it’s so amazing!
    Can you tell me where I found this cookie cutter? Sorry for my English is not my native language. Thanks!

  18. marian
    September 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi Andrea,
    The Alice cookie is hand cut, no cookie cutter, sorry. xo

  19. Linda
    October 10, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    Why don’t you use bakingpowder or bakingsoda in this recipe? Is this always for shortbread cookies?

  20. Linda
    October 10, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I found my answer in the sugar cookie recipe….

    “*Baking powder – I hardly use any baking powder in my recipe because the dough will spread and rise more during baking, thereby making the shape of the cookie less crisp. The only time I use it now, is if I’m just making round shortbread cookies and I don’t care about the cookies spreading.”

    Great advice, thanks Marian

  21. julie h
    November 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    hello marion
    could you tell me please on the shortbread cookies its just butter and the flours no egg??
    i havent tried these yet but it looks alot of flour does the butter mix it instead of egg??
    thank you for any help with this ive checked recipe so i havent missed anything
    your cookies are amazing 🙂

    • marian
      November 4, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Hi Julie,
      You’re right, no eggs. Yes, the butter helps mix the flour in. Thanks and have fun baking!

  22. katrina
    December 5, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Hi there, Is it possible to cut the dough with cookie cutters and freeze it? so I’ll just bake it when I needed?


    • marian
      December 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Katrina,

  23. Shirley
    December 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I have a question… I have never made shortbread cookies beforem ( i do bake thought). My question is that I see I all the messages that they are very very delicate . I am going to be making there for 22 kiddos to decorate at their school function. Should I leave out the corn stach so they are a more study cookie?

    • marian
      December 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi Shirley,
      Yes there is a comparison between my shortbread and sugar cookie recipe in the post (underneath the 4th photo). I’d use the sugar cookie for the purpose you need them for. You can find that recipe in my recipe section. xo

  24. B. Anna
    January 4, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Your talents are astounding! I have been going through your blog and it gives me a sense of who you are. You have to possess a beautiful mind to create such beauty. Your blog is fun to navigate and it’s just one delightful post after another. I want to try this, can you tell me what is the size of the Alice cookie approximately? Thanks.

    • marian
      January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind words, Anna. The Alice was about 10-12 cm by 7cm. It’s been a while so I’m estimating.

  25. 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 🙂

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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. 🙂

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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; https://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!

  37. 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!

  38. 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

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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

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