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Sarah’s Holiday Cookie-cutter Shortbread

Author: Sarah Bowers
Serves: Makes about ten 4" cookies

These frosted shortbread cookies are a favorite at Zupan's Markets. Simple ingredients, not complicated to make or roll out, they’re bound to become your holiday staple as well.

decorate your cookies with icing or, before baking, embellish them with non-melting candies, available in the baking section.



  • 1 C unsalted butter, at room temperature (68°)
  • ½ C powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 C bleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 C powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 T milk
  • 2 t. light corn syrup
  • 1/8-1/4 t. vanilla, almond, or another pure extract (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or leave ungreased.
  2. In a stand mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Turn off the mixer, add one-third of the flour mixture, and beat on low until blended. Slowly add the remaining flour and beat until blended.
  3. Using floured hands and a light touch, gather the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. (The dough does not need to be chilled to be rolled out, but it will require very light handling. Otherwise, chill to firm slightly.)
  4. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll the dough out to ¼- ½” thick (I prefer thinner depth). Dip a 4″ cookie cutter in flour, then press straight down into the dough (with a soft dough it’s best to use a simple shape). Repeat, cutting the cookies close together to avoid rerolling. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. Bake until the cookies’ edges are just a little brown (about 30 minutes). Let the cookies firm and cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy plain or decorate with icing and decorative candies.
  5. To make the icing: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup and beat until the icing is smooth, glossy, and the desired consistency (to thin: add a very small amount of milk; to thicken: add powdered sugar). If desired, stir in the extract. Place the cookies on a rack over a tray to catch the drips. Using a metal spatula, spread the frosting, sprinkle with candies, if desired, and let set (about 2 hours).