Zoe Denenberg, Styling: Rachel Mulcahy
Active Time
1 Hour
Active Time
3 Hours
15 dozen mini cookies

If you’re on the hunt for a bake sale-worthy recipe, look no further. Mrs. Iona’s Shortbread Cookies have long been a favorite at the Red Bird Bake Sale, hosted each year at Bethel United Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Mrs. Iona’s paper doll-shaped shortbread, or her “little men” as she calls them, are buttery with a subtle sweetness. They have a satisfying snap when you bite into them, but then they melt immediately in your mouth—just as shortbread should. While the recipe is a little time-consuming, given the rolling, cutting, and baking for two hours, the cookies are otherwise simple to make and well worth the effort. And because the recipe makes such a large batch, there is no need to eat them all at once: The cookies freeze nicely, or if you keep them in an airtight bag or container, they will be good for a few weeks. You can also make them feel festive for any occasion by using seasonal cookie cutters: Angels are a sweet choice for Christmas, while flowers would be perfect for spring parties.

How to Make It

Mix butter and sugar well. Then, add flour and mix well with hands. Roll out the dough on a floury surface, so that it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out the cookies, then poke holes with a fork in each. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven at 225 degrees for 2 hours. If they’re soft in the middle, leave them in for a little longer. Turn off the oven and let them sit overnight to continue drying out and crisping up, if you wish.