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These 4-ingredient Buttery Whipped Shortbread Cookies are the ticket for EASY melt-in-your-mouth cookies to round out those holiday gift tins!
Buttery Whipped Shortbread Cookies
If you’re holiday baking is underway or about to begin, you’ll want to include these perfectly little imperfectly shaped Whipped Shortbread Cookies to your short list.
With only four ingredients, they require little focus, but pay out BIG TIME in terms of tasty!
Crudely assembled and adorned with only candy sprinkles, this is a sweet and crumbly-textured all butter shortbread. Use a small cookie scoop to ensure the dough balls you will roll between your palms are of similar size.
By ‘whipping’ butter and sugar, we are whipping air into the cookies to make them lighter and more texturally pleasing. If you own a stand mixer, be sure to use it for this method.
Not only does this recipe go MUCH FASTER employing the energy of a stand mixer, but also because the stand mixer is easier able to cut through the dough mixture once the flour has been added.
Whipped Shortbread Cookie Recipe Ingredients
- Salted butter
- Vanilla extract (optional, but not crucial)
- Confectioner’s sugar
- All-Purpose flour
- Candy sprinkles, Sugar sand, or Glacé cherries for decorating
How This Recipe Came About…
There are many recipes and methods for shortbread out there. And out of all of the recipes and methods for shortbread, I like this one the best for its simplicity.
It’s four ingredients with an optional fifth if vanilla extract is desired…
I started fooling with this method in December or January of last year. It was too late to share it with you as a holiday cookie, but I am making a point of posting it this year.
These crudely assembled and quite plain soft shortbread cookies are tender, buttery, and melt in your mouth.
The texture is lightly crumbly and pleasingly sweet without being overly sweet. They can be as fancy or as plain as you would like them to be.
Whipped Shortbread Cookies with cornstarch are entirely different than piped shortbread cookies or the baked thick shortbread recipe your grandmother scored with a knife prior to the oven.
These are perfectly imperfect melt in your mouth shortbread cookies.
Can I Freeze This Cookie Dough Before Baking?
Yes, and they may be assembled, rolled, and decorated before being frozen so they are ready to bake straight out of the freezer. Simply follow the recipe card all the way up to baking.
Once frozen, remove each cookie one by one from the tray and place into a zippered freezer bag. No thaw required, however I do add an additional minute to the overall bake time if baking from frozen.
And if you need to freeze fully baked cookies, place them into an airtight container or zippered freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
With only four ingredients, five if you desire vanilla extract, in this shortbread cookie recipe, there are some key tips I don’t want you to miss…
- Use a stand mixer if you own one; a handheld electric mixer will get the job done as well, but a stand mixer has a lot of power behind it
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper; do not use baking spray or cooking spray to grease your cookie sheets, as the bottoms will most certainly burn
- Don’t stress if your cookie “cracks” when pressed with a fork; remember that this is a crudely assembled, plain cookie whose appeal is how simple its ingredients are, and how simple its assembly is
- Preheat oven; popping food into a cold or lukewarm oven should never be done unless a recipe specifies for you to do so
- Use a high-quality butter, no exceptions; no margarine or shortening as substitutions here
- Beat butter for 5 minutes BEFORE adding the Confectioner’s sugar; adding air to the butter compounds the point of this method
- Sift the powdered sugar before adding to the butter; sifting ensures the sugar is added free of lumps and ensures an ethereal butter mixture
- Sift the flour and cornstarch together before adding to the butter mixture; again, this goes back to ensuring a smooth cookie dough
- If you find you require additional flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture at the sugar stage, or a drizzle of melted chocolate over the fully baked cookies; these cookies are subtle and not overly sweet by any means which is the intention
Modifying The Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average…
I played with these to find complimentary ingredients to make these delicious shortbreads not entirely average. Have a favorite jam or preserve on hand? Here is a fun alternate method for jazzing things up…
First, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a shallow hole in each cookie. Spoon some jam into each hole, filling it without over-filling it. Bake.
Next, drizzle a basic Confectioner’s sugar glaze over the cookies once they’ve been removed to a cooling rack. Sprinkle lightly with toasted coconut flakes or finely chopped pistachios.
How Long Do Whipped Shortbread Cookies Take to Make?
All in all, set aside 1 hour for a batch of cookies. I know, I know…it’s the holidays and time is precious.
But consider that this cookie dough is able to be made ahead, cookies rolled and decorated, and then either refrigerated or frozen until ready to bake if necessary. The prep and assembly here is about 15 minutes.
Honestly, it will take longer to roll the cookies out than it will to do anything else. Bake anywhere from 19 to 21 minutes or until the bottom edges begin to turn gold.
It’s little effort really for the best whipped shortbread cookies ever. I may be biased.
Seems to me though, that an easy whipped shortbread recipe at the culmination of ALL of your holiday baking, will be a welcome break. Additionally, you can alter the yield right in my recipe card by hovering over the number of servings.
Use the ruler to increase or decrease ingredients and their precise measurements.
When added to cake, cookie, and many shortbread recipes, cornstarch helps create a crumbly and tender texture. When used in conjunction with flour, cornstarch relaxes the tough proteins in standard all-purpose flour, yielding a more tender end result.
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like these cookie recipes:
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- stand mixer or electric handheld mixer
- cookie sheets
- parchment paper
- 2 sticks salted butter softened to room temperature *SEE NOTE
- ½ cup Confectioner's sugar sifted
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour sifted
- ¼ cup cornstarch sifted
- vanilla extract, about 1 teaspoon
- candy sprinkles, sugar sand, or glacé cherries for decorating
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter for 5 minutes. Time it if necessary – you must not skip the amount of time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted Confectioner's sugar. If using vanilla, add now. Beat the mixture for 3 more minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and cornstarch together. Be sure to press all lumps through the sifter to eliminate them.
- Add the flour and cornstarch mixture into the butter. Whip until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer.
- Use a small scoop to scoop up some dough. Put the dough in your hand and use both hands to roll between your palms into a ball. The dough balls should be the same size or slightly smaller than a grape for bite-sized cookies. Repeat with remaining dough spacing cookies about 1/2-inch apart on the cookie sheet(s). There is very little 'spread' with these cookies.
- Dip a fork in some cornstarch. Press the tines of the fork into the tops of the cookies, re-coating the fork as necessary. Do not stress if the cookies appear to 'crack,' as it only adds to the character. Sprinkle the cookies with candy sprinkles, sugar sand, or top with a single glacé cherry.
- Bake cookies for 19 to 21 minutes. There will be little to no 'spreading.' Cookies are done when they begin to ever so slightly turn gold around their bottom edge.
- Allow cookies to cool directly on baking sheet.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.