Whether you’re looking to make a bunch of cookies for cookie exchanges or Christmas parties, or you want to create an amazing holiday cookie platter at home, you can’t go wrong with these Christmas shortbread cookies.
These cookies are just a basic buttery shortbread but they’re decorated with holiday colors and dotted with chocolatey goodness. And they couldn’t be easier!
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You can also make these your own signature cookies by adding ingredients, changing the colors, or making them into various shapes using cookie cutters.
Even if this is your first time making this style of cookie, you’ll find that these are a simple, easy way to make the perfect Christmas cookies!
Common Questions about Christmas Shortbread Cookies
Should I refrigerate my dough?
Placing the dough in the refrigerator for a half hour or up to overnight helps to solidify the butter and firm the dough — this prevents the dough from spreading while baking.
Can I replace the granulated sugar with another type?
While I like using granulated sugar, you can certainly experiment with using confectioners’ sugar. Some people prefer the texture when they use powdered sugar, though granulated sugar is the traditional type of sugar to use.
Should shortbread be hard or soft when it is done baking?
Shortbread should be somewhat tender when it comes out of the oven but crisp when you finally bit into it.
Making Christmas Shortbread Cookies Ahead of Time
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 3 months.
Any type of shortbread cookie can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also store these at room temperature for up to 10 days.
Refrigerator: Refrigerate shortbread cookies for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container or ziploc bag.
Freezing: Store shortbread cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. Separate cookies with parchment paper or wax paper to prevent them from sticking.
Tips For The Best Christmas Shortbread Cookies
These are some simple cookies to make but there are a few shortcuts or tips that will make it even easier to make them.
- Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature so that they mix easily.
- Rub your palms with cooking spray or a neutral cooking oil to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Chill the dough before baking to ensure they maintain their shape and don’t spread too much while baking.
These delicious cookies just require a few simple ingredients.
- Unsalted butter (room temperature)
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Hershey’s Kisses candies (unwrapped)
- Red chocolate candy melts
- Green chocolate candy melts
Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need
Just a few simple supplies are all you need to whip these sweet treats up quickly.
- Large baking sheet
- Large mixing bowl
- Microwave-safe bowls
- Rubber spatula
- Parchment paper or Silpat Liner
- Stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer)
- Cookie dough scoop
- Wire rack
- Piping bags (or ziploc bags with the tips snipped off)
How to Make Christmas Shortbread Cookies
These easy cookies are so simple to make you’ll wonder why you didn’t make them sooner!
- Place the butter in a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use an electric mixer).
- Cream butter on medium speed until it is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the side of the bowl to incorporate all of the butter.
- Continue to run the mixer at medium speed while you add the sugar.
- Beat the mixture until it is fluffy.
- Add the vanilla while continuing to mix.
- Turn the mixer to low speed.
- Slowly add the flour until it is completely combined.
- Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the shortbread dough.
- Using your hands, shape the cookie dough into small balls.
- Place the formed dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets ensuring that they are evenly spaced.
- Bake cookies until they are puffy and the edges are a light golden brown.
- Remove the baked cookies from the oven.
- While the cookies are still warm, place one Kiss into the center of each and gently press it in.
- Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
Create the Drizzle and Finish the Cookies
- Pour the candy melts of different colors into separate bowls that are microwave-safe. Alternatively, you can melt them using a double-boiler method.
- In intervals, melt a bowl of the melts and stir in between each interval until the melts are completely liquefied and smooth.
- Once melted, spoon each bowl of melted candy into a separate piping bag for each.
- Pipe the chocolate onto the cookies.
- Add sprinkles if desired.
- Allow time for the candy to set before serving or storing.
What to Serve With Christmas Shortbread Cookies
These buttery cookies are a tasty and pretty dessert that can be snacked on solo. But you can also pair them with some other delicious options.
- Sauce – Serve a fruit-based sauce or chocolate or caramel for dipping these delicious cookies.
- Frozen goodness – Ice cream pairs well with these crumbly cookies but you can also scoop out some sorbet or gelato.
- Tea – Shortbread is one of the quintessential tea cookies so these Christmas cookies would be perfect for a tea party, book club meeting, or a little alone time with you, cookies, and tea.
- Cup of coffee – Brew up a pot of regular or decaf or channel your inner barista and make a flavored latte to go with these cookies. You can also up your holiday spirit game by adding some spirits of a different variety — Bailey’s and Frangelico are two quality options.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
There are few reasons we can think of to make any other cookie than this during the holiday season!
- Affordable – These ingredients are mostly low-cost or you may already have them in your kitchen.
- Easy – This recipe comes together in nearly no time with so little work involved for such a perfect holiday treat.
- Seasonal – With all of the holiday colors these are sure to bring some Christmas cheer to your party or recipients of these as a gift
- Pretty – With their red and green colors, these cookies are sure to cheer up even the Grinchiest of party-goers.
Variations and Add-ins
I love these as they are but you can customize them as you like!
- Kisses – Use any other flavored Hershey’s Kisses that you like.
- Sprinkles – Try adding colorful sprinkles or even other similar additions like green nonpareils for a fun, festive feel.
- Decorator’s sugar – Sprinkle a little bit of decorator’s sugar in any color you like for extra festive color and a bit of sparkle.
- Extract – Try almond extract instead of vanilla for a nutty flavor.
- Shapes – You can use floured cookie cutters to make this dough into any shape you prefer. Try rolling it out with a rolling pin and make stars, Christmas trees, or any other shapes you want.
- Andes – These mints will add a little minty flair to your holiday cookies..
- Color – Try gel food coloring, or liquid, to make your cookies colorful.
- Cocoa powder – Make these chocolatey with the addition of this ingredient to the dough.
If you love this easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies recipe, you’re going to love these other cookies too. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
Other Creative Cookies
Christmas Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter room temperature (2 sticks) unsalted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 36 Hershey’s Kisses candies unwrapped
- ⅓ cup red chocolate candy melts
- ⅓ cup green chocolate candy melts
Assorted sprinkles, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter at medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
- Add the sugar and continue beating for 5 to 7 minutes or until fluffy.
- Mix in the vanilla until combined.
- Add the flour and beat until completely mixed.
- Using a small (1 tablespoon) cookie scoop, portion the cookie dough and shape it into balls. Place the portioned cookie dough on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and the edges are set.
- After removing the cookies from the oven, press one kiss into the center of each cookie.
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely.
- Place the chocolate candy melts into separate microwave-safe bowls.
- Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute.
- Stir vigorously to allow the candy to continue melting with the residual heat.
- Return the candy to the microwave and heat in 15-second intervals, stirring well between each, until the candy mixture is smooth.
- Transfer the candy melts to piping bags.
- Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies and immediately add sprinkles if using.
- Allow the candy to set completely prior to storing.
- To help prevent the kisses from melting too much on the warm cookies, unwrap them and place them in the freezer until you are ready to press them into the cookies.
- The candies will look like they are melting but do not disturb them and they will resolidify in the correct shape.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
- Cooled cookies can also be frozen but sudden temperature changes may cause the candy to “bloom” which is harmless but not pretty.
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate. Please double-check with your own dietary calculator for the best accuracy. We at Taste of the Frontier cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.