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+ servings

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

These one-bowl, no-mixer Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies are not only delicious but the pretty decorating technique is super simple!
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 165 kcal
Author Chris Scheuer


For the cookies:

  • 8 ounces very soft butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons half and half (or milk)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 colors of green gel paste food coloring


For the cookies:

  1. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. 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 well blended.
  3. Add the flour and cornstarch. Stir until dry ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be a little shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball.
  4. Knead 5-6 times until fairly smooth and all the small pieces are worked in. Form into a ball again and flatten with your hand to form a flat disk. Turn the disk to coat both sides with flour.
  5. Roll out the dough to an approximate ⅜-inch thickness (see Café Tips above in the post). Keep work surface, dough and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour. Cut out Christmas trees (in one or more sizes) and transfer to prepared pans with a thin, metal spatula. Re-roll scraps as many times as needed to use up the dough.
  6. 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 1 pan of cutouts from the refrigerator and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden at the edges. Rotate pans halfway through for even browning. Repeat with the second pan of cutouts.
  7. Cool completely before icing.

For the glaze:

  1. Combine powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons half and half (or milk), vanilla and peppermint extract in a medium-size bowl. Mix until smooth. The glaze should be fairly thick, but pourable. Add a little more half and half if too thick. Taste the glaze and add more extract, if a more intense flavor is desired.

  2. Transfer the glaze to a small shallow bowl (a little bigger than your cookies). With a toothpick, swirl a small amount of two green gel food colorings through the icing in the bowl. Don’t swirl too much or the icing will become a solid color. Use a light hand with the gel food coloring. A little goes a long way!
  3. To glaze the cookies, hold onto the edge of a cookie and dip the top surface into the glaze, being sure all of the surface touches the glaze. Pull cookie straight up and out of the glaze. Allow excess glaze to drip into another bowl or plate (this will keep the glaze from getting murky) for about 30 seconds. When glaze stops dripping, quickly flip the cookie to the right side up and give it a gentle jiggle to allow the glaze to flow evenly over the surface. Repeat with remaining cookies.
  4. Place cookies on a cooling rack and allow glaze to dry completely.

Recipe Notes

Makes 10-20 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters. See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips. I got my Christmas tree cookie cutters from Amazon.

Nutrition Facts
Christmas Shortbread Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 24mg8%
Sodium 82mg4%
Potassium 16mg0%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 290IU6%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.