Pink Shortbread Cookies

butterfly cookies post 3 red

Buttery Shortbread Cookies with Pink Glaze

My favorite cookies almost all have frosting on them.  It’s my signature when it comes to cookies. These are no exception.

This recipe is a basic shortbread recipe.  But the technique for rolling out the dough is a little different from the usual.   I first ran across the idea of using a plastic zipper storage bag  in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking cookbook  and I’ve adapted it for use in several recipes. Makes rolling out a snap and cleanup is even easier.  No extra flour needed. Give it a try!

storyboard for pink cookies_edited-2


uncooked pink shortbread cookies


Pink Shortbread Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
  • pink food coloring
  1. Combine butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add mixture slowly to the butter mixture, stirring on low speed. Stop beating as soon as the flour mixture is completely incorporated. Over beating will result in toughness.
  3. Form the dough into a slightly flattened ball and chill about 30 minutes. Place chilled dough into plastic zipper storage bag. With bag slightly open to allow air to escape, begin to roll out dough until it is evenly distributed in flat shape throughout bag. Place back into refrigerator until firm--at least 30 minutes--up to 2 days. Can also freeze at this point.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone mats, or grease generously with cooking spray.
  5. Remove cookie dough from fridge and carefully cut three sides of bag with kitchen shears or scissors leaving one side intact. Open up and use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Because the dough is cold and firm, they should peel off the plastic easily. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Re-roll scraps after replacing plastic over top of new ball and refrigerate a few minutes until firm again. Repeat as needed until all dough is used.
  6. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown around the edges. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove and cool completely before icing.
  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and extract. If too thick, add more milk a few drops at a time. If too thin, add more powdered sugar or let sit for awhile. Use food coloring to tint the icing. Ice cookies and allow to sit until icing is dry. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 1 month in the freezer.


niece eating cookie

Kid-tested and approved!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin February 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Hi, I am looking for a glaze to put on top of shortbread cookies – is this icing more like a glaze rather than a thick icing? and does it harden just a bit after it has dried so that the cookies could be stacked on top of each other?
Thanks so much!


Nancy April 14, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Approximately how many cookies do you get per batch? I realize it probably varies depending on the size cookie cutters you use, but on average?


Paula April 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

The original recipe predicted 20 cookies but that is a full-size cookie. It makes at least 2-3 times that many of the smaller cookies that I like.


Heather December 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I’ve made this receive 3x in 3 days. Totally in love. My very picky eater may actually gain weight with these in the house as a reward. Delicious!


Amy September 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Are we allowed to pin this? Your site has a follow me button, but not a button saying I can pin. Thanks


Marie August 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

What a FANTASTIC idea you have given me … after ALL these years you can teach an old dog new tricks … Thanks


jami March 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Look delicious and adorable. Do they freeze well?


Paula March 2, 2012 at 7:10 am

Hi Jami,
Yes, these cookies freeze very well as long as your wrap them up good. pr


Vicki V February 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Love the plastic bag idea! I hate using a pastry cloth!


bonnie February 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

This sounds so easy! Haven’t made cut-out cookies in about 15 years b/c they’re such a pain to roll out, but now– must try! Thanks.


Paula February 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Bonnie, the idea of rolling out cookies on a floured surface doesn’t appeal to me either. Ziploc bags are my friends!


Tessa B. July 7, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I just made this shortbread recipe. Not only was it the best method I’ve ever tried, it is also the most delicious I have ever tried. I might try a drizzle of chocolate on them next. Thank you!


Romaine July 8, 2010 at 5:18 am

Yes, yes….chocolate would be very tasty.


LeAnn February 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I just made some! Mine aren’t nearly as pretty as yours, but they sure do taste good. I went all out and bought the almond extract for the icing. I think it’s great. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Jill September 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Stress-free rolling sounds wonderful. Iced shortbread is my absolute favorite sweet treat.


Pam September 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

How cute and pretty! I love shortbread!


Velva September 12, 2009 at 7:53 pm

These shortbread cookies look fabulous! All I would need is a good cup of coffee and a few of these tasty treats and I would be in a happy place.
Thanks for sharing.


shaista September 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm

nice colourful cookies…


Amanda September 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Wow! Awesome idea about the plastic bag! I will definitely be trying that out! These cookies are delicious!!


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