Made with just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, these whipped shortbread cookies (made with cornstarch) melt in your mouth and are so easy to make. While not completely necessary, dipping them in white chocolate and crushed candy canes gives them an extra festive flavor.
It’s almost Christmas!
And I know what you’re thinking, “What can I do to make my holiday season even more magical?”
Well, you can start by making this whipped shortbread cookies recipe.
Shortbread is one of the all-time great Christmas cookie recipes if you ask me.
But traditional Scottish shortbread cookies can be a little finnicky.
Which is where this whipped shortbread recipe (made with cornstarch for that melt in your mouth texture) comes in handy.
Not only are these cookies quick and easy to make, but they are light and airy and so tasty.
Even better? They freeze really well, so you can make them in advance and pull them out as you need them.
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Here is your shopping list:
- baking supplies – 1 cup all purpose flour, ½ cup confectioners sugar, ½ cup corn starch. Yes, you really need that much corn starch. It’s one of the reasons these cookies are light as air.
- dairy – ¾ cup butter. Unsalted butter is the traditional choice for baking, but salted butter will work, too.
- flavoring – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
White chocolate dip
While dipping them in white chocolate and crushed candy canes is totally optional, I love the peppermint flavor with the shortbread. And it makes them look really festive.
- white chocolate – 1 cup white chocolate chips or 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- shortening – 1 Tablespoon
- candy canes – 6 to 8 regular-sized candy canes
- Do not use margarine or shortening instead of the butter. Shortbread needs real butter to taste like it is supposed to.
- For a nuttier flavor, replace the vanilla extract with almond extract.
- You can decorate the cookies with sprinkles or powdered sugar instead of the white chocolate glaze.
How to make whipped shortbread cookies
The prep work
Take the butter out of the refrigerator a couple of hours in advance to let it warm to room temperature.
Move the oven rack to the center position.
Pre-heat the oven to 300℉.
Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In 3 different bowls (or plates), sift enough
- flour to fill 1 cup.
- icing sugar to fill ½ cup.
- corn starch to fill ½ cup.
Normally, I’m a pretty lazy baker and skip sifting. But not for these shortbread cookies…it’s an important part of getting light and airy cookies.
If you don’t have a sifter, you can use a sieve. Pour the flour into it and shake it back and forth over a bowl or plate until it has all come through.
The best way to measure dry ingredients is to spoon them gently into a dry measure until they form a heap. Then scrape straight across the top with a knife and let the extra fall back into the original container.
Do not pack the flour, etc. down by tapping the side of the measure or by banging it on the countertop.
Make the cookie dough
Add 3/4 cup of room temperature butter to a mixing bowl.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy, a minute or two.
I like to use my stand mixer for this because it leaves your hands free to easily add the rest of the ingredients.
But a hand mixer will work if that’s what you have. You’ll just need to stop while you add everything in.
Gradually mix in 1/2 cup icing sugar, one spoonful at a time.
Beat the butter and powdered sugar mixture until fluffy and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes.
This beating process is what makes the whipped shortbread light and airy so don’t skimp on the time.
Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to the slowest level.
Combine the flour and corn starch in a small bowl. Don’t stir too much or they will get compacted (which defeats the purpose of sifting them).
Gradually add the flour and corn starch to the butter mixture.
Beat just until combined. Over-beating at this stage can lead to tough cookies.
The dough should be thick and slightly crumbly.
Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
The heat from your hands melts the butter a bit which should help the dough stick together.
Bake the cookies
Use a melon baller, teaspoon or your fingers to make 1 inch balls from the cookie dough.
Spread them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
For thinner cookies, flatten them with a fork.
If you want to decorate with sprinkles, put them on the cookies now.
Bake in the oven at 300℉ for about 25 minutes. They should be cooked but not brown on the top.
Do not stack cookie sheets in the oven since the cookies will not bake evenly.
When finished baking, let the cookie sheet sit on a cooling rack for a few minutes before moving the cookies to it.
Be careful as you transfer them to the wire rack since the warm cookies are very soft and will break easily.
If you want more pronounced grooves, press down on the tops of the cookies with a fork while they are still warm.
Decorate the cookies
If you didn’t use sprinkles and want to decorate the cookies, wait until they are completely cooled before continuing with this step.
This is completely optional since the cookies taste delicious all on their own. However dipping them in white chocolate and crushed candy canes will give them a festive flair.
Use a rolling pin to crush 6 to 8 candy canes. Spread them out on a small plate.
Add 1 Tablespoon shortening and 1 cup of white chocolate chips to a small bowl.
Cook in the microwave for 15 seconds. Take it out and stir.
Repeat until the white chocolate has melted and is completely combined with the shortening.
Don’t try to heat the white chocolate chips for long periods in the microwave. They burn easily and you usually can’t tell when they’re melted by looking at them.
Dip one half of each cookie into the white chocolate.
Then press the wet white chocolate on both sides of the cookie into the candy canes. Be careful when you’re doing this since shortbread is very soft and breaks easily.
Put the cookies back on the cooling rack or on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to let the white chocolate harden.
I don’t recommend putting them directly on a plate. The white chocolate often sticks to it and the cookies will break when you try to pull them off.
You can also roll the cookies in powdered sugar (without the white chocolate) in you prefer.
How to store whipped shortbread cookies
When completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Place a piece of parchment paper between each layer of cookies to prevent them from breaking.
The secrets to making the best whipped shortbread is:
1. Sift the dry ingredients.
2. Use room temperature butter that is soft but not mushy.
3. Beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy and pale yellow in color.
4. Don’t mix the dough too much after you have added the flour which can cause the cookies to get hard.
Yes, they freeze very well. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
These cookies should be baked at a low temperature (300℉) for about 25 minutes, until the tops are cooked but not brown.
Other Christmas Cookies You Might Like
- Old Fashioned Cherry Winks Cookies
- Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
- Slice and Bake Peppermint Cookies
- Holiday Thimble Cookies
Quick and Easy Whipped Shortbread Cookies With Cornstarch
- medium bowl
- mixer with mixing bowl
- measuring cups and spoons for dry measure
- rimless cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- Cooling rack
- microwaveable bowl – for melting the white chocolate
- rolling pin – for crushing the candy canes
For the cookies
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sifted corn starch
- ¾ cup butter at room temperature
- ½ cup sifted icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon shortening (optional)
- 6 to 8 candy canes (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 300℉.
- Combine the flour and corn starch in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add 3/4 cup of room temperature butter to the mixer and beat on high speed until creamy.
- Gradually add in 1/2 cup icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in 1 Tablespoon vanilla.
- Reduce the mixer speed to the slowest level.
- Gradually add the flour and corn starch to the butter mixture. Beat just until combined after each addition.
- Use a melon-baller or your fingers to make 1" balls from the dough.
- Spread them 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press flat with a fork if you like thinner cookies.
- Bake in the oven at 300°F for about 25 minutes.
- Remove to cooling racks. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them directly onto the racks. Let cool completely.
Decorate the cookies (optional)
- Crush 6 to 8 candy canes into small pieces with a rolling pin. Spread them out on a small plate.
- Add the white chocolate and shortening to a small bowl.
- Cook in a microwave for 15 seconds. Then take it out and stir.
- Repeat for as many times as necessary to melt the chocolate and mix it with the shortening.
- Dip half of each cookie in the melted white chocolate. Then press both sides into the crushed candy canes while the it is still wet.
- Put the cookies on a wire rack to let the white chocolate harden
- Sifting the dry ingredients before measuring them removes any lumps and aerates resulting in lighter, fluffier cookies.
- Beating the butter and sugar together until fluffy is what makes whipped shortbread so light and airy so don’t skimp on the mixing time at this stage.
- After the flour has been added, don’t over mix since beating flour too much will result in tough cookies.
- Lining the cookie sheet with parchment paper prevents the cookies from spreading too much and keeps them from sticking to the pan.
- Be careful when removing the cookies from the cookie sheet. They are very soft when they are warm and break easily.
- When completely cooled, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have comments or questions about our quick and easy whipped shortbread cookies with cornstarch recipe? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on December 21, 2021 but was updated with new content on December 14, 2023.