Who’s got a sweet tooth? 

Jessie Wu, Staff Writer

Holiday Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe from Tasty


for 24 cookies


  • 3 cups all purpose flour(375 g), plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 cup sugar(200 g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • 3 cups powdered sugar(360 g), sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, or almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • white gel food coloring
  • blue gel food coloring


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a fork.
  3. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer for 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Finish mixing with hands until the dough comes together in a ball.
  5. Transfer dough to a floured surface. Roll out to about ¼-inch thick. Use cookie cutters of your choice and place cut-outs on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool.
  7. To make the royal icing: In a medium bowl, add the meringue powder to the powdered sugar. Whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and 4 tablespoons of water. Whisk until completely combined.
  8. Divide the icing into smaller bowls and add any desired gel food colours. Immediately transfer to piping bags, or cover with plastic wrap. Do not leave the icing uncovered.
  9. Decorate the cookies with royal icing as desired and let dry completely, at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
  10. Enjoy!

On Christmas Eve, I received a call from my best friend. It was a request for a spontaneous cookie-baking session at her house. Since I’d accomplished next to nothing over the break and I’d been lounging around the entire day, I readily agreed.

We drove to the nearest grocery store in search of our ingredients. However, many items were already sold out (we were doing last minute shopping after all). The food colouring section was undoubtedly the saddest; all that was left were a few tiny bottles of bright, cyan blue. Guess it was time to have a blue Christmas!

We got down to business immediately. While she preheated the oven, I took charge of combining the butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour. Little by little, we formed the dough while simultaneously whipping up a storm of excess flour, which settled onto her countertop. Later, as we prepared to roll out the dough, we found the surface of her counter sufficiently powdered as a result of our previous shenanigans. Everything was going well.

I was in the middle of cutting a Yoda-shaped cookie when her dog, Apollo, sprang off the couch and let loose the loudest bark I’ve ever heard. Startled, I pulled the mould out from the dough prematurely, causing Yoda to lose a third of his right ear. One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew, our plate of (thankfully) only three cut-out cookies was on the floor. Apollo, sensing his chance, flew over and instantly devoured two. My friend screamed and snatched up the third before he could lap it up too.

Our first shortbread cookie attempt was really successful. Other than that slight fiasco, of course. The cookies turned out cute(ish). We also made icing to decorate the shortbread, but in all honesty, the shortbread tasted amazing on its own; it had just the right balance of butter and sugar for a signature bakery-level cookie taste. At the end of the day though, Apollo got more than enough of his share of sweets; so out of the three of us, he’s the one with the real sweet tooth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *