If you think these festive Red, White, and Blue Shortbread Cookies look difficult, check out the video and you’ll be a believer! They’re one-bowl, no-mixer and super delish!
These Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies have to be one of the most fun and festive cookies to ever roll out the door of The Café! They’re a perfect way to celebrate any of the American patriotic holidays, but can also be adapted to school colors, team colors or simply your favorite colors. They’re much easier than you might think, making them a wonderful project to do with kids.
5 ingredient cookie dough
The cookie recipe is simple, with just 5 ingredients; butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, flour, cornstarch. The dough comes together in just a few minutes, in one bowl, with no mixer needed! The cutout cookies are chilled and then baked. When they roll out of the oven they’re crisp, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
The glaze is easy, but even more important, it’s also super delicious! I’m not a big fan of pretty cookies that don’t have good flavor.
Fun and easy decorating technique
Oh, and the decorating technique for these Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies? I know it looks a bit fancy and time-consuming, but that’s not true on either count. I figured you might think I was spoofing, so Scott and I made a video of both the cookies and the icing technique, so you could see for yourself!
See what I mean? Easy peasy! And, as I said, they’re a super fun activity to do with children (of all ages). Each cookie turns out totally unique, so everyone will be thrilled with their own personal creations.
Not American? Not a problem! You can make these fun cookies too and make them the colors of your flag. Or your school colors. Or your best friend’s favorite colors. Or whatever colors you fancy!
Pinched for time? Although these shortbread cookies come together fairly quickly and are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, you could also use this decorating technique on plain store-bought sugar cookies. No one has to know you cheated just a bit! Ready to celebrate? Make the occasion beautiful with these Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies and wait for the ooohs and aaahs!
Café Tips for making these Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies…
- Because there’s no mixer used, the butter needs to be very soft when mixing up the dough for these cookies. Just let the butter sit out for a few hours. If you forget, a short stint in the microwave on power level 10 (10%) works like magic to soften butter. You’ll need to experiment a bit with your microwave though, as they’re all different. Start with 20 or 30-second increments at power level 10 until you learn how long your microwave will take to get the butter nice and soft, but not melted.
- I used fresh lemon juice in my glaze. Feel free to use other flavorings. Almond, vanilla, orange, lemon and coconut extracts are also delicious.
- Flavor extracts can vary in intensity. It’s better to start with a small amount in the icing, then take a little taste. You can always add more, but you sure can’t remove it!
- A few tips on rolling and cutting out cookies:
- Keep your work surface and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour.
- I also like to rub the cutting edge of my cookie cutter in a little flour in between each cookie.
- Press fairly firmly when cutting out the cookies, but don’t twist the cookie cutter as the shape will get distorted.
- If you don’t have room in your refrigerator to chill the cookies on two sheet pans, just transfer all of them to one pan after cutting. Then later, once they’re chilled, you can divide them between the two pans for baking.
- When re-rolling the scraps, incorporate as little of the flour on the work surface as possible.
- Occasionally, some of the cookies will be slightly puffed on the top when removed from the oven. You can give them a nice flat top by pushing on the top gently with a metal spatula.
- Sometimes the glaze for these cookies will have lots of bubbles. These bubbles will cause imperfections in the surface of the glazed cookies. Simply stir the glaze very slowly to get rid of the bubbles.
- I use red white and blue sprinkles AND red white and blue nonpareils on my cookies. Feel free to use one or both of these fun decorations.
- I love these pre-cut parchment paper sheets when making cookies. They are the perfect size for a cookie sheet pan and also come in a nice flat box for easy storing. This 100-pack will last forever – and save you some time and hassle.
- Don’t roll these Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies too thin, otherwise, they will be difficult to dip into the glaze when decorating. I roll mine to a 3/8-inch thickness and use an adjustable rolling pin. How do you roll them to the desired thickness? This reasonably priced rolling pin is a super-easy way to achieve the same perfect thickness for all your cookies. It has 1/16, 1/6, 1/4, and 3/8-inch removable discs, making it easy to flatten your dough to a uniform thickness. Have a baker on your gift shopping list? This would make a lovely present that can be used year-round.
- When dipping the cookies in the glaze, let them drip in a separate bowl. That will keep your glaze from getting murky and your patterns less dramatic. (See drip bowl on the right in the image below.)
- Allow these cookies to dry on a wire rack for an hour after glazing, then store in an airtight container.
- Cookies can also be frozen. Thaw on a sheet pan for an hour or two before serving.
- We’ve got lots of other glazed shortbread cookie recipes for other holidays and occasions. Check all of them out here.
Thought for the day:
No one is like you, Lord;
You are great,
and Your name is mighty in power.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
If you think these festive Red, White, and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies look difficult, check out the video and you'll be a believer! They're one-bowl, no-mixer and super delish!
- 8 ounces very soft butter (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons half and half or milk maybe more
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- red, white and blue sprinkles optional
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place soft butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until nice and smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix together by hand for about 30 seconds, until fluffy and well blended.
Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch evenly over the top. Stir until flour is incorporated and the dough is shaggy.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press dough in a ball. Knead a few times until smooth, then form into a ball again and press with your hands into a flat disk.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 3/8-inch thickness. Keep work surface, dough and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour. Cut out cookies and place on prepared pans. Re-roll scraps as many times as needed to use up the dough.
Place cutouts in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350˚F. Remove cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 12-16 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden at the edges. Rotate pans halfway through for even browning. Cool completely before glazing.
Combine powdered sugar, half and half and 1/4 teaspoon lemon (or your favorite flavor) extract in a medium-size bowl. Mix until smooth. The glaze should be thick but pourable. Add a little more half and half if too thick. Taste the glaze and add more extract, if needed (see the note above in the post).
Transfer half of the glaze to a small bowl. With a toothpick, add a small amount of red and blue gel food coloring and swirl it just a bit. Don’t swirl too much or the icing will become murky. Use a light hand with the gel food coloring. A little goes a long way!
Dip one cookie at a time into the glaze. Let the cookie sit on the top of the glaze and gently push down at all the edges to ensure the surface of the cookie is covered with the glaze. With your thumb and forefinger, pull the cookie out of the glaze and allow the excess icing to drip off into a separate bowl. Then quickly flip the cookie right side up and give it a gentle jiggle to allow the glaze to flow evenly over the surface. Repeat with remaining cookies. (See video above for a demonstration of this technique>)
Add more of the white glaze to the bowl when needed. Repeat adding more gel coloring as needed.
Sprinkle with red, white and blue sprinkles (or other colors) while wet, if desired.
Allow the cookies to dry on a wire rack for at least 2 hours after glazing, then store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above for lots of extra tips and instructions.
The recipe makes 15 large (3-inch) or two dozen smaller (2-inch) cookies.
Once cookies have been dried for several hours, they can be stacked in an airtight container.