slice and bake pastel shortbread

pastel shortbread |

When creating new recipes, I tend to stick with what I know.

I’ll play around with a pre-existing recipe and watch it morph into something else.

Here, my traditional shortbread cookies get a holiday makeover with sparkly sprinkles for a bit of festive bling.

pastel shortbread |

Recently, I made a bunch of cookie dough logs for the freezer.

Shortbread is one of our favorites and I wanted to put a twist on the original this year.

Instead of rolling and cutting the dough into shapes, the shortbread was divided into thirds and rolled into logs.

Each log was then rolled in red, white, and green pastel colored sprinkles. After this sparkling appliqué, they were wrapped in parchment paper and frozen.

When ready to bake, the trick is to slightly defrost the logs before slicing; they are easier to cut and will maintain a smooth, round shape.

pastel shortbread |

If you’ve never made cookie dough logs before, it’s really convenient- just slice and bake! Keep a few logs in the freezer and you will have gorgeous cookies whenever you feel like baking.

For us, this was a fun and festive way to enjoy one of our favorite cookies.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

Kitchen Notes:

  • This recipe requires 3 egg yolks. However, the egg whites can be saved. Place them in a small container (or individually) and freeze- don’t forget to label and date. I’ll post a new recipe on how to use them soon. Stay tuned! 
  • When cutting the logs, use a large chef knife. Test the very end piece of the log first to see it it’s ready. If it’s too hard, wait a little bit until it’s easier to slice. Also, it helps to press the back of the knife in towards the log as you cut; this will ensure round and not diagonal sliced cookies. 
  • Feel free to add citrus zest or different extracts such as almond or vanilla to vary the flavor of the shortbread dough.
  • I like to use salted butter for these cookies. Although baking with salted butter is a faux pas, try it. The flavor is fantastic.
  • Cookie dough logs can be frozen up to 3 months or longer when wrapped properly.

slice and bake pastel shortbread
  • 3 c sifted flour
  • 2 sticks of salted butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks*
  • 1 c sugar (I use Florida Crystals)
  • red, white and green pastel sprinkles
Kitchen Notes: if you want to bake straight away (not from frozen) after making the dough, skip wrapping the logs in parchment and jump to bullet point #7. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.
*Save the leftover egg whites. Place them in a container, label and date. Freeze, up to 3 months.
**When cutting the logs, use a large chef knife. Test the very end piece of the log first to see it it's ready. If it’s too hard, wait a little bit until it’s easier to slice. Also, it helps to press the back of the knife in towards the log as you cut; this will ensure round and not diagonal sliced cookies.
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub together using your fingertips. The heat from your hands will incorporate the butter into the flour.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Add to the flour.
  3. Gently mix the dough with your hands until it comes together into a ball. If it's a bit crumbly, that's normal. Keep working the dough until it comes together. Do not over mix.
  4. Divide the dough into thirds. Working directly on the counter, roll each piece of dough into a log about the length of your forearm.
  5. Roll each log into the colored sprinkles, respectively.
  6. Wrap the logs snuggly in parchment paper and twist the ends to close. Label and date. Freeze until ready to use.
  7. To bake, preheat your oven to 325 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Defrost the logs for a couple of minutes or so. They will be easier to slice and will maintain a smooth, round shape.
  9. Using a large chef's knife, cut the frozen dough logs into rounds, about ¼- inch thick (refer to a tape measure). Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  10. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until very lightly golden (adjust baking time if you find that your cookies need a little bit longer in the oven). Swap and rotate racks for even coloration.
  11. Remove the cookies and cool for about 5 minutes on the tray.
  12. Transfer to a wire rack.



  1. says

    These are beautiful. I love using colored and flavored sugar to coat slice and bake cookies.

    I’d be hard pressed to pick just one favorite holiday cookie, but I’ll go for Spritz cookies. We break out the cookie press just once a year – at Christmas, so I’ll go with that. I send warm wishes to you and yours for a terrific holiday season!

    • Emilie says

      Spritz cookies! I haven’t made those in ages. I have a press too, but it’s buried somewhere ;) I’m sure yours are lovely. Sending you warm wishes as well, my friend. xo

  2. Amisha Gurbani says

    These cookies are so cute!! and logs are a fantastic idea, although I need to do it more to save me some energy and time :). I agree with you about the salted butter ! Its funny you are the first person I have come across to use salted butter! My family including grandma makes these shortbread cookies with salted butter and they turn out fabulous!

    • Emilie says

      Absolutely. It’s all about investing our time when we actually have it. Then you get to reap the rewards when you’re burnt out ;)

      I’ve been baking more and more with salted butter these days. No matter how much salt you add to unsalted butter, it never tastes the same. Your Grandmother is certainly onto something… xo

      • Judy Trudell says

        I’ve always baked with salted butter, so much more flavour to baked goods. By the way Emilie, love your blog, I am a new follower. Looking forward to ordering your cookbook. Thanks for all the great recipes and helpful hints. I am also a fan of slice and bake cookies as I work full time. Anxiously awaiting your next email.

  3. Catharina Almskoug says

    I love your recipies (the fish for Thanksgiving for ex). I can convert lb to kg and Farenheit to Celsius, but how much is 2 “sticks of salted butter” (the shortbread)????
    Kind regards

    • Emilie says

      Hi Catharina! Excellent question. 2 sticks of salted butter equals approximately 226 grams.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Emilie says

      Happy cookies- I love that! The additional of sprinkles is such a nice (and easy) way to spruce up something tried and true. You can do it with any recipe, really. Happy festive season to you!

  4. says

    What a fabulous idea Emilie. Those shortbread cookies looks so festive. I need to use this tip and make later. I love a similar cookie which is popular in India which uses chickpea flour, nuts and dried fruits, so good and freakin so addictive. So I hardly make them.

    • Emilie says

      Oh, you have to give me the recipe! I bought a bag of chickpea flour recently for a savory recipe (total flop) and it’s been sitting in my freezer ever since. I have no clue what to do with it. I’m sure your cookies are fabulous and I would love to try something different. xo

    • Emilie says

      And once you see how easy it is, you’ll love it! You can also freeze little balls of cookie dough too, if it’s the type of recipe that can’t be rolled into a log. Once frozen solid, transfer to a ziploc bag or container until ready to bake. xo

  5. says

    Oh Emilie.. I am adding these to my Christmas gift baskets. Can’t wait what you’ll create with the leftover egg whites.
    See you tomorrow :))

    • Emilie says

      Thank you Bev. I do love traditional English shortbread- it’s fantastic. You know, I’ve always been fond of it’s rich golden color… is it because of the butter? Our butter is white as snow over here whereas something like Kerry Gold is a gorgeous yellow… xoxo

  6. says

    Hi, thanks for the recipe! I just made these and placed them in the freezer. When I am ready to slice and bake, what type of knife or tool do you recommend for slicing, non-serrated knife, string, etc? Thanks again!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Diana! Excellent question. I would use a sharp chef’s knife (mine is 8″). Make sure to defrost the logs slightly before baking- I always test the very end piece of the log first. If it’s too hard, I wait a little bit more until it’s easier to slice. Also, when cutting, it helps to press the back of the knife in towards the log; this will ensure round and not diagonal sliced cookies.

      Hope this helps!

    • Emilie says

      Hi there!

      The Florida Crystals are white, or ‘blonde’ I should say. I use this brand because their sugar is less refined. But yes- you can sub regular cane sugar for this recipe!

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