Whipped shortbread cookies are melt-in-your-mouth Christmas goodness! This recipe uses one shortbread cookie base with several decorating options.
Christmas Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Whipped shortbread cookies are a classic cookie that many of us remember from our grandmothers. It’s buttery and not too sweet, which lends perfectly to seasonal toppings like crushed candies and Hershey’s kisses. I’m a big fan of whipped shortbread because they will melt in your mouth with every bite.
What Defines A Whipped Shortbread Cookie?
There’s one key step to making these cookies that differs from traditional shortbread. It’s whipping the butter and sugar together. This is done for a lot longer to create a light and airy cookie that is oh-so-good.
Traditional shortbread can be denser in texture, which is probably why shortbread can sometimes have a negative connotation for some people.
But not these cookies!
These cookies are not too sweet, nice and buttery, and will melt in your mouth. They’re lightly crumbly, flakey, and light. Basically, they’re a classic for good reason!
Christmas Whipped Shortbread Cookie Ingredients
You only need 6 main ingredients for this recipe:
- All Purpose Flour – This recipe uses 2 cups of all purpose flour.
- Cornstarch – You’ll need 3 Tbsp of cornstarch.
- Salt – A pinch of salt is used.
- Unsalted Butter – This should be room temperature. You’ll need 1 cup of butter.
- Confectioners Sugar – You’ll need ¾ cup of powdered sugar (sometimes referred to as icing sugar).
- Vanilla Extract – This recipe uses 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract.
- Plus Decorations – Green and red sprinkles, crushed candy canes, Hershey’s kisses, M&Ms, gummies and any other candies you would like to try.
What Does Cornstarch Do To Shortbread Cookies?
The cornstarch helps to create a more crumbly, tender cookie. It can help to make them less cakey. The secret to a good shortbread is that delicious crumbly texture that feels like it melts in your mouth. Cornstarch is a key ingredient in making that happen.
How To Make Christmas Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Dry Ingredients – Mix together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Whip The Sugar and Butter – Whip the room temperature butter, confectioners powdered sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer for 3 minutes. This step is key for light and flakey shortbread.
- Mix In Flour – Stir in half of the flour using hand mixer. Repeat with the other half. Near the end the dough will start to come together and you can finish mixing with your hands.
- Chill And Roll – Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes, then roll into 1 Tbsp balls. Place each on on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Flatten, Decorate and Bake – Use a fork to gently flatten each cookie. Add Christmas candies and sprinkles, then bake for 8 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for 10 more minutes. After, gently transfer each one to a rack to cool completely (I like to use a spatula as they’re delicate while still warm).
For detailed instructions please scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe card.
How To Freeze Christmas Shortbread Cookies
Add the cookies to a freezer bag, remove excess air and seal tightly. These cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
You can also refrigerate these cookies or store them on the counter in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Tips For Making Whipped Shortbread
- Use Butter, Not Margarine – Real butter is one of the key flavors of shortbread cookies. Margarine will alter the taste.
- Use Room Temperature Butter – If the butter is too cold or too hot (aka. melted butter), the cookies won’t hold air properly during the creaming process. This is what creates the light and flaky texture that shortbread cookies are known for.
- Whip Ingredients For At Least 3 Minutes – This is key to creating light and flakey cookies. I typically set a timer during this process to make sure I’m doing the correct time.
- Don’t Skip The Cornstarch – Another key ingredient to creating light and flakey cookies. Without it, the shortbread will be a more cakey texture.
- Chill The Cookie Dough Before Rolling – Chilling the cookies will help to firm up the butter which will create puffier cookies.
- Pressing The Cookies – You can use the bottom of a glass or the prongs of a fork to gently press down the cookies. Cookie stamps add beautiful textures too!
- Adding The Decorations – Add your decorations to the uncooked cookies. Sprinkle them on top and gently press them into the cookies with your fingers. I used a variety of Christmas themed candies including green and red jimmies (sprinkles), crushed candy canes (I crushed a couple candy canes in a bag by lightly tapping them with a hammer on a cutting board), and Hershey’s kisses (striped peppermint flavor and regular chocolate).
- Bake In Small Batches – Use only one cookie sheet in the oven at a time. This ensures even baking of the cookies.
- Cook At 300°F. – If the temperature is higher it can create burnt edges to the cookies.
- Don’t Overcook The Cookies – When you pull these cookies out of the oven, they will feel really soft. You might think that they’re undercooked. Don’t put them back in the oven because once they cool, they will start to harden making them the perfect consistency.
- Freeze The Dough Ahead Of Time – If you want to prep the cookies in advance, you can freeze the uncooked dough. First, roll into balls, then gently flatten with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Add any candy toppings. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. Once the dough is firm, add the raw cookies to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. You can bake them from frozen by adding 2-4 minutes on the baking time.
Troubleshooting Christmas Shortbread Cookies:
- If Shortbread Cookie Dough Is Too Crumbly: There might be too much butter. Or butter might be wrong temperature.
- If Cookies Spread Too Thin While Baking: This can be caused by too much flour or the butter was too melted before baking. To fix this problem, refrigerate the raw cookie dough for 15 minutes before rolling into balls and baking.
- My Cookies Were Too Dense: Two things will affect the consistency of the cookies, the butter temperature and how long you whip it with the confectioners sugar. Whipping for 3 minutes will create a lighter, flakier cookie.
- My Cookies Were Tough: Over kneading the dough can result in tough cookies. You want to mix until ingredients are just combined and then stop.
More Christmas Baking Recipes
- Snowball Cookies – They look just like snowballs with hidden M&Ms inside.
- Best Sugar Cookies – An easy recipe to make with kids.
- White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies – Soft and chewy with the perfect sweetness.
- Red and Green Coconut Jello Balls – Made with only three ingredients, these are fast and delicious!
- Applesauce Spice Cookies – Soft cookies sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
- Gingerbread House Cake – Made using a nordic ware gingerbread house pan.
- Christmas Cracker Candy – One of the easiest treats to make and highly addictive!
Did you love this shortbread recipe? Be sure to leave a rating below!
Christmas Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Red and green sprinkles
- Hershey's kisses
- Crushed candy canes
- Christmas candies
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the room temperature butter and confectioners powdered sugar together until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes. Set a timer and don't skip this step – this will make the cookies light and flakey.
- Add in half of the flour mixture and beat with hand mixer.
- Add the last half of the flour mixture and blend again.
- At this point you might have to use a spatula or your hands to finish mixing.
- The dough will stick together nicely and be a little bit crumbly. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and use 1 Tbsp to roll into balls between your hands. Place on the baking sheet.
- Use a fork or the bottom of a glass to gently flatten each cookie.
- Top the cookies with sprinkles, crushed candy canes or Hershey's kisses (or anything else you'd like). Gently press the candies into the tops of the cookies so that they stick while baking.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Gently place each cookie on to a rack. They will be delicate while still warm – I like to use a spatula to transfer so they don't break. Let the cookies cool completely on the rack. Cookies with chocolate will take longer to cool – You can place theses cookies in the fridge to help harden the chocolate faster.
- Place in an airtight container on counter or in fridge for up to 1 week.These cookies can also be frozen in an airtight container for 3 months.
Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.