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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.



  • 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)

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


  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).