Soft Chewy Shortbread Cookies (1 dough 4 ways)

Soft chewy shortbread cookies are made from one shortbread recipe, with 4 cookie recipe variations. Add M&Ms, dip them in chocolate, or make shortbread thumbprint cookies!

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Soft chewy shortbread cookies are made from one shortbread recipe, with 4 cookie recipe variations. Add M&Ms, dip them in chocolate, or make shortbread thumbprint cookies!

Okay you guys, I have a confession to make: I bought a fake Christmas tree. *shocking*

Throughout my entire adult life I have said I would NOT EVER buy a fake tree, NO NOT EVER. I would ALWAYS get a fresh and pine-smelling tree. I have loathed fake Christmas trees pretty much my entire life, probably because every other year we used one when I was a kid and the fake trees from the 70s were not like the ones you get today. That tree was more like a Charley Brown Christmas tree than a real one.

So what changed my mind? A friend and I were chatting and she was talking about putting up her tree early and how they have a fake tree and the lights are already on it and it’s up and decorated in mere minutes. And suddenly all my reasons for hating fake trees started to seem weak.

When Jordan was a baby we’d go to the Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree, cups of hot chocolate in hand. Then we got a little lazy and discovered that Home Depot had great trees so we’d venture there instead. Then we got rid of our truck and we started having to strap the thing to the top of the car as well as drag it in and make a huge mess of needles. The entire month would be a battle of remembering to water the darn thing and wondering if it would fall over (it did, one and a half times). Then the clean up and the needles I’d find well into April. Also, did I mention that fake trees come with the lights on already? That’s the absolute worst part of tree trimming, right? The lights?

I asked Mel, figuring he’d be anti-fake tree. “It’s okay with me if it’s okay with Jordan,” he said.

I trepidatiously approached Jordan and asked her. “Does that mean we can put it up now?” she asked. “If so, then YES!”

So I did it. I bought a tree, on sale, at Lowe’s. And it was up before Thanksgiving. (In my defense, I wasn’t hosting, so it didn’t matter that we skipped Thanksgiving decor.)

Now I can sip my wine and look at my gorgeous 600 LED bulb Christmas tree…and change the color from white to multicolored with the click of the foot pedal.

Technology is amazing.

So are soft chewy shortbread cookies, especially when the dough is one recipe you can make four different ways!

Soft Chewy Shortbread Cookies; There are only 4 ingredients in the easy basic shortbread dough and it bakes up to a soft and chewy cookie!

This soft chewy shortbread cookies recipe started in my mind last year when I made these cookies. Those were from a mix, but it’s a mix I absolutely adore. The problem is: you can only get it at the holidays. What if I want shortbread cookies in March? Sure, I have a shortbread cookie recipe, but it wasn’t like that mix. I can’t really explain the difference except to say the mix results in a cookie that’s soft and chewy and shortbread all at the same time, whereas normal shortbread cookies are more like a sugar cookie in texture. I wanted a cross between a drop sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie recipe…and that’s what these are.

It only took me three tries, but I got them PERFECT. They melt in your mouth, are soft and chewy at the same time, and so buttery they’ll make you cry tears of powdered sugar. How did I do that: a combination of butter and oil (the oil gives them that chewy soft texture I was looking for) as well as using powdered sugar instead of granulated (less spread, because powdered sugar has cornstarch in it). Also, these have no eggs and no leavening!

Once I had soft chewy shortbread cookies, I started thinking…there are SO MANY ways to use this recipe. I mean, that picture above is pretty, but basic shortbread cookies are a little boring. Where are the sprinkles, the chocolate, the frosting? And that got me to thinking…why not show the ways I can use this cookie dough?

It’s one cookie recipe you can turn into 4 different cookies all at once or in different batches. Basically, this one recipe can satisfy all your holiday platters in one fell swoop!

Okay, so are you ready for the different ways to make soft chewy shortbread cookies? Okay, let’s start with my favorite:

Soft and Chewy Shortbread Cookies with M&Ms - the perfect easy cookie recipe!

I can’t ever get enough of M&Ms in cookies. It’s probably why these cookies are so popular; the M&Ms shortbread cookies are so festive. You can use any kind or color M&M on these cookies, for any holiday. You scoop the cookie dough and then press the M&Ms on before baking. Easy, right?

Then, the classic way to dress up shortbread cookies: with chocolate!

Soft and Chewy Shortbread Cookies - this easy cookie recipe is so good dipped in dark chocolate or white chocolate with sprinkles or peppermint crunch!

I think chocolate dipped shortbread is so pretty. You can dip these in anything you like, but I like using semi-sweet or white baking chocolate. Those are the ones you find in the baking aisle, usually on the top shelf. They come in 4 ounce packs. Melt a 4 ounce bar and dip each cookie halfway. Decorate them with peppermint pieces or toffee bits or nuts or sprinkles, or leave them plain. The peppermint ones add some pretty color to a holiday platter!

Soft and Chewy Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies - this easy cookie recipe is perfect for any thumbprint filling from jam to chocolate to caramel!

And last but not least: thumbprint shortbread cookies. I always love thumbprints because they look difficult even though they’re super simple. I rolled 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough and made a “thumbprint” before baking using wooden spoon handle. Once they bake, I fix the hole a little if needed (sometimes they spread out or close up while baking). Then fill the with your favorite filling: jam or chocolate or caramel. Just use any kind of jam you love, or use ice cream topping. That’s hot fudge with some sea salt in the back and salted caramel ice cream topping in the front. I drizzled them with a little melted chocolate just to make them look pretty.

So many options…one soft chewy shortbread cookie recipe. Which one will be your favorite??

Did you make this recipe?

Shortbread Cookies (one dough 4 ways)

Soft chewy shortbread cookies are made from one shortbread recipe, with 4 cookie recipe variations. Add M&Ms, dip them in chocolate, or make shortbread thumbprint cookies all from one recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Beat butter and oil with a hand or a stand mixer, then slowly mix in powdered sugar and salt. Slowly add salt and flour and mix until a thick dough forms. This will take awhile with a hand mixer!
  3. Scoop 1 or 2 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until the edges just turn brown and tops are just no longer translucent (2 tablespoon sized cookies: 10-14 minutes, 1 tablespoon sized cookies: 8-12 minutes). Cool completely before removing from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

For M&M Shortbread Cookies: add M&Ms on top of the cookie dough ball before baking. For 2 tablespoon sized cookies, I suggest using 5-6 plain M&Ms, any color.

For Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies: melt 4 ounces of white or semi-sweet baking chocolate according to package directions. Dip cooled cookies halfway into chocolate, tapping off the excess, and then place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill until hardened. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, toffee bits, nuts, or sprinkles while still wet, if desired.

For Thumbprint Cookies: make 1 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Use the back of a wooden spoon to slightly make an indent in the center of each cookie. Bake until lightly golden on the bottom (8-12 minutes) and then re-press hole with the wooden spoon handle as needed. Cool completely. For filling, fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam, cold hot fudge ice cream topping, or cold caramel ice cream topping. If desired, melt some dark or white baking chocolate to drizzle over the top.

Notes:

Nutritional information is based on tablespoon sized cookies, making 56 cookies per batch of dough, with a serving size of 2 cookies.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 28-56 cookies (depending on size), Serving Size: 2 thumbprint sized cookies

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 168
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 17mg
  • Sodium: 42mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Protein: 2g
All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Soft Chewy Shortbread Cookies - this easy cookie recipe has one dough and can be made 4 ways! There are only 4 ingredients in the basic shortbread dough, dip them in chocolate, add M&Ms or make them into thumbprint cookies!

These cookies would also be great to make my Chocolate Chip Toffee Pretzel Shortbread or my Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies!

Pretzel Toffee Shortbread Cookies (2 of 8)w

Macadamia Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies (3 of 8)

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28 comments

  1. We have a fake tree too, and it is such a huge timesaver. What a great analogy to your shortbread cookies too. They are a fantastic way to celebrate National Cookie Day!

  2. Sounds like my dream cookie texture. Awesome.

  3. Three times, eh? That would have been two too many for me. lol That’s awesome you nailed it after 3 tries and got it just like that mental vision of cookie nirvana you had in your mind going into it. I know those visions and sometimes they are easier to achieve than others!

    Congrats on the tree. I have never once put up a tree in my adult life. That’s right. We travel half the month, or more, and so what’s the point I always say. Skylar has never known the difference so I’m like…sweet! 🙂

  4. I grew up with a fake tree, but my husband didn’t. So for years, we dragged the tree into the house, swept the needles, yelled about the watering, and the mess. It all ended the year the tree went down. It’s been a fake tree every since and I couldn’t be happier. The cookies look great – I love shortbread.

  5. Oooooohhhaaaaa…these look good. I could go for 1 or 12 right about now! I think the dipped ones would be my favorite. Or maybe the thumb print ones with chocolate and/or caramel. YUM!

  6. Will try it all 4 ways!!
    BTW, how about a picture of that 600 LED light tree?? Since you mentioned it, you have to!😉

  7. All I can say is “WOW!”

  8. My comment, as always is that I think we were separated at birth!!! If you could answer one question about this great shortbread cookie-can I use this for spritz cookies?

    • Ha! You know, I’ve only ever made spritz cookies once and I don’t have a machine, so I’m not sure. The dough is normal cookie dough thickness but is not sticky at all, if that helps.

  9. Hi Dorothy! Do you think sprinkles would stick if I rolled the dough in them prior to baking? I have a go to thumbprint cookie recipe currently that I roll in sprinkles prior to making the thumbprint and baking. But I would love to give your recipe a try! I also never thought to fill with hot fudge topping so I am definitely going to give that a try!!

  10. So I have salted butter in my fridge–will that mess the recipe up? Thanks!

  11. These are perfect for indecisive individuals such as myself. I can have all four!

    I used to hate fake trees too. But (insert long winded romantic story here) and now I love ours.

  12. I know exactly what you’re saying about trees. I’ve been a real tree lover for years. But then I saw my boyfriend’s mom’s fake tree and how quickly they assembled it. And it looks great. I think this is the last year I’ll have a real tree for a while. 
    I just had a chocolate dipped shortbread cookie at a cookie sale a few days ago and I’ve been craving more of them since then. And here I stumble on this wonderful recipe. These look GREAT!

  13. I just made these today. They are heavenly!  This is going to be a new holiday favorite.  I dipped all of mine in chocolate because I thought that would be delicious and they are.  I think I will add some holiday sprinkles to the next batch to share with friends. Thank you for the recipe. I really enjoy your blog!

  14. These are so fantastic! I will take one of each please.

  15. If I want to use your soft and chewy shortbread cookie recipe but add the pretzels, toffee & chocolate chips to it (instead of using the box mix) what amount of each item should I add to your above recipe?? Thanks

  16. I’m definitely making this!!!

  17. Hi Dorothy! Just following up on my sprinkle question..I tried rolling these guys in sprinkles but the sprinkles did not stick well at all! I then tried dipping them in some egg whites before rolling in sprinkles and that did the trick 🙂 They turned out great!

  18. Can you make the dough ahead and place in the fridge? We’re currently baking salt dough ornaments so the oven is preoccupied. We’re taking these to our angel’s school program tomorrow. 

  19. Hey there Dorothy,
    thanx so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.
    I switched just a little thing and adapted it to German. You’ll find my Versions here:
    http://www.sabotagebuch.de/wordpress/2016/12/16/muerbeteig-plaetzchen-ein-teig-viele-moeglichkeiten/

    I even managed to get sprinkles on them – I just pressed them into the sprinkles. Thx, Sandra

  20. I just made these and was quite disappointed with the taste – very oily taste. They’re cute in your pics, though!

  21. Hi, can these be stamped or used with a cookie press? Thanks for sharing, I haven’t made it yet.

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