Vanilla shortbread cookies are a deliciously festive treat that is bright, buttery and sparkly. Candy-coated with sprinkles they are a perfect melt-in-your-mouth holiday cookie.
Soft vanilla shortbread cookies are tasty and fun to give out as gifts. In fact, I made this batch of shortbread cookies with icing and sprinkles to give out as a small act of service.
December is a month of giving and I encourage everyone to perform a small act of service every day until Christmas. Here is a calendar full of great service act suggestions to get you started!
Making these Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Unlike other shortbread cookie dough recipes, this one doesn’t require that you chill your dough for a few hours beforehand. This not only makes it easier to make these shortbread cookies, but it also helps to cut down on the wait time, meaning you can have fresh baked cookies in your mouth much faster! (Who doesn’t love that?)
Using white melting chocolate to adhere to your sprinkles is a delicious way to do so, but if you don’t want to run out and buy white chocolate, you can make a thick powdered sugar glaze instead, or simply buy and use cake frosting.
What is the Difference Between a Sugar Cookie and a Shortbread Cookie?
Sugar cookies often have a lot more ingredients including a leavening agent and more sugar, giving them a sweeter and chewy texture. Shortbread cookies are often much lighter in texture and decorated or glazed before being eaten.
How do You Fix Crumbly Shortbread?
If you find that your shortbread dough is too crumbly to come together into a dough ball, adding a few extra tablespoons of water (a little at a time) can be a great way to have it all come together. If that doesn’t work, you can tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then chill it in your fridge for a few hours before continuing with the rolling and cutting.
Vanilla Shortbread Cookies Ingredients
-1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups white melting chocolate*
-Festive sprinkles- white jimmies, clear and gold sugar sprinkles
How to make Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
In a large bowl, and using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla extract.
Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing until it forms a dough.
Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until it’s 1/4″ thick. Cut star shapes (or whatever shape cutter you plan to use) and then transfer the cut shapes onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat until all dough is cut into shapes.
Heat the oven to 300°F. Bake the cookies on the top rack of the oven for 22-26 minutes, until just barely browning.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl or cup, combine 1-2 TBSP of each type of sprinkles until the desired mixture is achieved. I used slightly more clear sprinkles than either the white or gold ones.
Heat your white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute, stir gently and continue heating in 15-second increments until smooth. Paint the chocolate on each cookie with a silicone brush. Then generously top the cookies with your sprinkle mixture until covered. Let them cool to harden.
I made these cookies as an act of service and gifted them out with these printables that I received as a special thanks to Colette from My Computer is My Canvas. They each contain a list of small service acts that anyone can participate in. You can print your own copies to use here.
VANILLA SHORTBREAD COOKIES
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups white melting chocolate*
- festive sprinkles- white jimmies clear and gold sugar sprinkles
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until it forms a dough.
- Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until 1/4" thick. Cut star shapes and transfer onto parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat until all dough is cut into star shapes.
- Heat the oven to 300°F.
- Bake the cookies on the top rack of the oven for 22-26 minutes, until just barely browning.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool. Combine 1-2 TBSP of each type of sprinkles until desired mixture is achieved. I used slightly more clear sprinkles than either the white or gold ones.
- Heat white chocolate in microwave for 1 minute, stir gently and continue heating in 15 second increments until smooth. Paint on each cookie with a silicone brush. Top with sprinkles generously until covered. Let cool to harden.
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Why is my shortbread chewy?
If your shortbread cookie came out too chewy there is a good chance the reason is as simple as an overworked dough. If you rolled it out too many times or kneaded it like a bread dough then too much gluten could have developed, leaving your cookies tough and chewy. With cookie dough, a little effort can go a long way, so be careful not to overwork your shortbread cookie dough.
How do you store shortbread cookies?
Shortbread cookies are an easy cookie to make and to store once they’ve cooled. Keep your vanilla shortbread cookies in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, or store them in a freezer bag for up to a month.
How do you know when shortbread cookies are done?
Unlike some other cookies where you want to get the cookies to a nice golden brown color, shortbread cookies are done at a much lighter color. You want your cookie to have a very slightly golden brown color around the edges but the center area will just barely look golden. If the cookie still looks white, it wasn’t cooked enough, but brown and black cookie edges are a sign that you cooked it too long.
If you like these vanilla shortbread cookies, you’ll enjoy these other Christmas cookies too!
- Red Velvet Christmas Cookies
- Chocolate Mint Cookies
- Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups
- Peppermint Fudge Thumbprint Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies with Spiced Marshmallow Buttercream
- Ginger Spice Cookies
- Hot Cocoa Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies
- Red Velvet Christmas Cookies
- Soft Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookie Bites
- Peppermint Cookies
You’re going to enjoy these sprinkle covered, buttery and festive vanilla shortbread cookies.