Painted Shortbread Cookies
Get artistic with your cookies this year.
Recipe Summary test
It’s time to break out the paintbrushes. If you’re looking for a way to show your artistic flair this holiday season, this recipe for Painted Shortbread Cookies is meant for you.
Slightly crunchier and more buttery than traditional sugar cookies, a simple shortbread forms a sturdy base for these cookie canvases. You’ll want to make the cookie dough ahead of time to allow it a few hours to chill—at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Then the fun of decorating really begins.
Decorating these cookies is a great afternoon project for the whole family—set aside plenty of time to frost and paint these delicate beauties. Unlike more intricately decorated cookies, these Painted Shortbread Cookies don’t even require a piping bag—a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off will work well. Not in the spirit for piping? You can also dip the cookies in white royal icing for the same effect (get all of our cookie decorating tips here).
Instead of fussing with multiple Royal Icing colors, we use an artistic approach, combining almond extract and food coloring gel to make edible “paint” that has a soft watercolor look when brushed onto dry royal icing. A plain white royal icing base makes a great canvas for your food coloring watercolors. From here, the design is entirely up to you—we love an elegant tartan pattern or tree silhouette. Get creative and have fun with it!
Tips for Making Painted Shortbread Cookies with Kids: Want to make these cookies with kids? You can involve them in as much or as little of the baking process as you want—after all, the real fun is the decorating. You’ll want your kids to do a few practice strokes on a piece of paper towel to test your colors and get the hang of the motion. Then they can let their creativity run wild and paint their cookies. Learn more.