winter shortbread

winter shortbread |

I heard sweet laughter coming from the other room.

Giggles. Belly laughs.

It was music to my ears. Winter has been really rough this year, especially for the boys. It’s brutally cold. And because of the frigid temperatures we’ve been cooped up in the house for what seems like an eternity. The day-to-day struggles have become routine; digging out the cars, salting the ice and shoveling snow. Hearing them play, completely unaware of the seasonal stress made me smile.

Then it stopped.

No more laughter.

I quietly approached their room to investigate… but they were gone….

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santa’s shortbread cookies

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Santa, I hope you like shortbread.

I must admit, the jolly old man was going to get Oreos this year. But when Dillon asked to make homemade cookies for Santa (and Frosty?) my motherly guilt kicked in.

We decided on sweet, buttery shortbread. My recipe uses regular sugar instead of confectioners sugar, which is what you’ll find in most shortbread cookies. I also use self-rising flour to lighten the texture. These ingredients yield a more tender and flaky cookie, similar to Walker’s Scottish shortbread.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Whenever I make cookies that require rolling & cutting, I like to split the workload up into 2 days.

Day 1- Make the dough. Chill for at least 30 minutes- overnight.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Day 2- Roll & Cut.

Roll the dough to about 1/4 ” thick. Do this between 2 sheets of floured parchment. Plastic wrap will work too.

Find some cookie cutters and get to work! I used mini Christmas ones by the way…

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

If at anytime the dough starts to soften (and it will), pop it back into the fridge to chill and then start again.

Prior to baking, freeze the shaped dough on a lined cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. This helps to keep its shape when it hits the hot oven.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Bake at 325 F for about 20 minutes. They should be golden, but not too brown.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

Lightly dust with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot


Santa's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever CarrotSanta's Shortbread Cookies | The Clever Carrot

* Shortbread requires only a few ingredients; butter, flour & sugar. It’s best to seek out good quality products for maximum flavor. You will definitely taste the difference!

santa's shortbread cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: makes 30-40 mini cookies
  • 1¼ c. self-rising flour*
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. confectioners sugar for dusting
* For best results, use store bought self-rising flour (not homemade). Commercial self-rising flour has a low protein content that yields a light and tender cookie. This flour is available in most grocery stores and can be ordered online from King Arthur Flour.
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line 1 or 2 cookie trays with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until light and fluffy. You can also use a stand or hand held mixer for this.
  3. Sift the flour into the food processor.
  4. Run the machine until the dough comes together. It should be a little crumbly and soft, but not too sticky. Tip the dough out onto a work surface, and bring the dough together to form a ball.
  5. Flatten the dough into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes- overnight.
  6. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Do this between 2 pieces of floured parchment paper. Floured plastic wrap will work too.
  7. To keep them from sticking, dip the cookie cutters in flour and press into the dough. If the dough begins to soften, place it back into the fridge to chill, and then start again.
  8. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, transfer the cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Place in the freezer for at least 5 minutes prior to baking. This will help to keep its shape before going into the oven.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes (check at 15 minutes) or until lightly golden. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking to promote even browning.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the tray. Transfer to a wire rack.
  12. When the cookies are completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.
Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 1 week.