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5 from 11 votes
Sugar Plum Fairy Shortbread Bites
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
These buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Sugar Plum Fairy Shortbread Bites are super easy to make with no rolling or cutting out and make a delicious, quite magical gift with the free printable labels!
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American, British, Scottish
Keyword: Easy Shortbread, Shortbread Bites
Servings: 81 1-inch shortbread bites
Calories: 51 kcal
Author: Chris Scheuer
For the cookies:
  • 1 cup very soft butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • a few drops of pink or red food coloring (I use liquid food coloring) optional
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons multi-colored nonpareils I used a combination of turquoise, white and several shades of pink. Use whatever color or colors you like!
For the glaze: (optional)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons half & half maybe more
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon almond extract
For the cookies:
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides. Spray the foil and sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter, sugar and extracts in a large bowl. Stir until creamy and well combined. Add the pink food color, if desired, just a drop at a time until the desired color is achieved. (If glazing, I use a drop of pink food color in the glaze rather than in the dough itself. You can omit the food color altogether, if desired.)
  3. Add the flour and salt. Stir with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly. Stir in the nonpareils. leaving 1-2 teaspoons for the top.

  4. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat it to an even layer. I like to use the a flat bottom glass or a metal hamburger spatula to help pat and even out the dough. If you’re going to skip the glaze, sprinkle the reserved nonpareils evenly over the top of the dough and press gently to help them adhere. If you choose to use the glaze, set aside the reserved nonpareils until after glazing.
  5. Refrigerate for 10 minutes then use the foil to lift the dough from the pan onto a cutting surface. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Place squares 1-inch apart onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets; discard foil.
  6. Refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
  7. Bake on the center rack for 13-18 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Repeat with the second pan of cookies. Store in an airtight container.

For the optional glaze:
  1. Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium-size bowl and whisk until nice and smooth. The glaze should be fairly thick but spoonable. If it seems too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick add more half and half, a few drops at a time until desired consistency is reached. (See the picture above in the post.)

  2. Transfer the icing to a shallow bowl. Add 3-4 of the shortbread bites to the bowl and spoon the icing over each one to completely coat.
  3. Using a fork, bring one of the shortbread bites up out of the icing and allow the excess icing to drip back into the bowl. When most of the extra icing has dripped off, wipe the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl then transfer the cookie to a cooling rack and sprinkle with nonpareils. Repeat with remains shortbread bites.
  4. Allow the icing to completely dry. It will take 3-4 hours (maybe longer). When you touch them the icing should feel hard and dry. When the icing is dry, flip the cookies over and let sit until the bottoms are also nice and dry.
  5. Once the glaze has set, the shortbread bites can be stacked on a plate or platter or packed in bags or boxes to be given as gifts. If giving as a gift, I like to place the cookies in a plastic or cellophane bag and secure it with a twist tie to keep them fresh.
  6. Store in an airtight container. These cookies can also be frozen. When ready to serve, remove them from the freezer and thaw in a single layer.
Recipe Notes

See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.

Nutrition Facts
Sugar Plum Fairy Shortbread Bites
Amount Per Serving
Calories 51 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 6mg2%
Sodium 28mg1%
Potassium 6mg0%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 72IU1%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.