There’s a bit of a story behind these snowflake shortbread cookies. Whilst they’re one of my favourite Christmas cookie recipes that I’ve made so far, they were a total pain to make. Not because the recipe is difficult – it really isn’t – but because I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to make.
To start off, I intended to makeover these candy cane Christmas cookies, but I didn’t have any of my beloved Americolour red food colouring – all I had was a small bottle of natural red food colouring, but I decided to carry on with the recipe regardless. Have any of you ever used natural red food colouring? Mine has a really strong beetroot flavour. I love beetroot, but the smell of it in the food colouring is so overpowering that it totally puts me off!
Anyway – turns out natural food colouring is rubbsh compared to Americolour red food colouring – it just wouldn’t mix into the dough. I tried and tried and ended up with an orange marbled mess. Instead of doing red candy canes, I thought I’d do green candy canes – green is still Christmassy, right? So I got my Americolour green food colouring out and tried to blend it into the dough that wasn’t marbled orange. Guess what? Food colouring is really difficult to mix into shortbread cookie dough. So that was two lots of cookie dough in the bin.
Determined not to throw away my last batch of cookie dough, I decided to make snowflake cookies and baked my last batch of dough into star shapes. I left them to cool and then attacked them with icing, with the aim of making them look something like these stunning shortbread cookies. Instead, I ended up shocking myself with how appalling my icing skills are.
I rubbed all the icing off the cookies and tried again, going for a more simple look. I wasn’t happy with the simple look so studded the cookies with teeny tiny edible silver balls and that somehow took them to a whole new level and made them look way more magical than I could have imagined when I threw my first batch of orange marbled cookie dough into the bin.
I’m trying loads of new Christmas recipes this year, which is why I’ve started so early! I think you can never have too many Christmas cookie recipes (or Christmas biscuit recipes, if you’re on my side of the pond) so I’d love to hear about your favourites. Leave me a link in the comments section and I’ll check them out!
Snowflake Shortbread Cookies
- 250 g / 9oz all-purpose flour
- 75 g / 3oz white sugar
- 175 g / 6oz cold butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- edible silver balls
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F and line a baking tray with a non-stick mat or some parchment paper.
- Mix the flour and white sugar together in a large bowl.
- Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you've got a solid cookie dough.
- Roll the dough out until it's about 1cm / 1/2 inch thick and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can. Collect the leftover dough back up, roll out and cut out more cookies until you've used up all the dough.
- Lay the cookies out onto the lined baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes, or until they just begin to turn golden.
- Leave the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
- When cooled, stir together the powdered sugar and water. Add more water a couple of drops at a time until you've got enough for a thick paste.
- Scoop the icing into a piping bag and pipe snowflake shapes onto the cookies.
- Press the edible silver balls into the icing while wet and leave to set for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.