Dairy Farmers of Canada

Festive Butter Cookies

With their delicious buttery taste and pretty decorations, these traditional shortbread cookies will delight kids and adults alike. The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without them!

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cooking: 10 min - 15 min
  • Refrigeration: 1 h
Yields 60 cookies
festive butter cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Canadian butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Food colouring
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Stir together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

Cream butter; gradually beat in sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients, part at a time. Divide dough in quarters. If necessary chill dough for ease in handling.

On lightly floured surface roll dough to approx. 1/8 inch (3 mm) thickness. With floured cookie cutters cut into desired shapes.

Place on unbuttered cookie sheets. Use a jumbo straw to cut out a circle in the top of each cookie. Bake at 400 ºF (200 ºC) 5 to 7 minutes.

Beat egg yolk; divide in half; tint each half with food colouring.

As soon as cookies come from the oven use egg yolk mixtures and small paint brushes to paint designs on cookies. Return cookies to oven. Bake 4 to 5 minutes more.

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