Shortbread star cookies with a lemon glaze icing are easy holiday treats. These delicious star cookies are made without any eggs, plus a little rice flour adds a crisp crunch to these shorbread stars.
Today, we're baking shortbread stars especially for the holidays. These cookies are so good, Santa may enjoy them as a change from the ususaly chocolate chip cookies many families leave for him to enjoy.
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Irish Christmas Biscuits
These shortbread stars are crisp Irish biscuits. In Ireland we call cookies biscuits, and biscuits scones. Traditional shortbread is soft and tender, but these shortbread biscuits have a little crsip crunch to their texture. That's achieved by adding some rice flour to the dough to help dry it out.
These lemon glazed shortbread stars are perfect for Christmas and make wonderful gifts. Plus, good news. They're super simple to bake, so this is a great recipe for kids to help with.
Ingredients for Shortbread Stars
Here's a quick list of what you'll need for these delicious cookies. You'll find exact quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- unsalted butter plus
- white sugar
- all-purpose flour
- rice flour
- confectioners' sugar
- lemon juice
You'll notice there's no baking soda or baking powder in this recipe. This dough creates a flat cookie that does not rise very much, so there's no need for any leavening agent.
Irish baking recipes tend to use far less vanilla extract than American recipes. Feel free to add up to a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the creamed butter and sugar. Alternatively, you could use the scraped seeds of a vanilla pod to transform these into vanilla cookies. However, I prefer to let the butter flavor shine in these cookies to compliment the lemon glaze.
If you don't like the citrus flavor of lemon in the icing, you can make it with milk. However, your cookies will not last as long in storage since the milk will spoil.
Baking Equipment for Shortbread Stars
You'll need a star-shaped cookie cutter for these cookies. You can choose to make similar sized cookies if you only have one cutter. Or why not make a variety of sizes if you have a nested star cookie cutter set. This blog post features a variety of sizes of iced star cookies.
It's easiest to make this cookie dough using a stand mixer or a hand held electric mixer. Either will work fine for creaming the butter and sugar together. If you're arm is up to the work you can always cream the butter and sugar with a good old wooden spoon.
I bake these cookies on a large cookie sheet. If you have a silicone baking tray liner it's a great way to prevent the cookies from sticking. Alternatively, you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
I find these options are far better than baking the stars on ungreased cookie sheets. If I don't have a liner or paper for the tray, I always grease the cookie sheet with extra butter.
Directions for Shortbread Festive Stars
Firstly, you need to make the dough and chill it for about 30 minutes.
Start by creaming the butter and sugar together using an electric hand or stand mixer.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, rice flour and salt together.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar very gradually, mixing on low speed.
A soft dough will form. When you have a dough ball stop mixing. Remove the dough from the bowl and cover it in plastic wrap.
Place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill completely. The dough will be much easier to handle after some time in the refrigerator. You can leave the prepared dough in the fridge for up to 2 days.
If you'd like to reduce your plastic waste wrap the dough in parchment paper instead before chilling.
When you're ready to bake you're cookies turn on the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius). These cookies are baked at a low oven temperature.
There's no leavening agent in the dough that needs to be activated by high heat. The goal is to bake the flours, and turn the cookies a lovely golden color without burning them.
Take the dough from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap.
Dust a flat work surface and rolling pin with flour. Place the dough ball in the center of the flour and roll it out until it is about one quarter inch thick.
Take your star cookie cutters and cut out the sizes you like for your cookies.
Gather up any dough scraps and knead them gently to reform a dough ball. Once again roll out this dough until flat, and cut out more cookies. Repeat as often as necessary to use up all of the scraps.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cookies turn a pale golden shade. Don't over brown these Irish biscuits. Each oven is sligtly different, so I've given a 5 minute range for the cooking time.
Cool the baked cookies in the baking tray for just a few minutes. Use a flat spatula to transfer them to a wire rack where they can cool completely.
How To Decorate With Lemon Glaze
Next, it's time to add a lovely white icing to your cookies.
This is a really simple glaze made with lemon juice and confectioners' sugar (known as icing sugar in Ireland).
It's important to sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Removing any lumps gives you a head start for creating a smooth glaze.
Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and whisk into the sugar to form a paste. Add another tablespoon of lemon juice and whisk again until a smooth icing forms. It should be a slightly thin, spreadable consistency.
If your icing is still too thick gradually add more lemon juice. The exact amount you require is dependent upon the humidity of the room where you're mixing the glaze.
Spread the glaze over the top of the cookies. I place a small amount on the center of each star, then use a knife to spread it in a point onto each ray of the star.
Let the icing set before serving your delicious star cookies.
How To Store Christmas Cookies
Once these cookies have cooled completely and the icing has set, they can be stored in an airtight container. They'll keep for about one week.
You can make these cookies in advance and defer decorating them. Simply glaze them when you're ready to share them.
Here's a short video outlining the steps for making these star cookies.
Here's a printable recipe card, if you'd like to add these cookies to your kitchen files.
You can toggle between US and Metric measurements, and choose to print with or without images.
Shortbread Star Cookies
- 3 ounces unsalted butter plus extra for greasing the baking tray if not using a silicone baking sheet.
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 1 pinch salt
For the Lemon Glaze
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice use upto 3 tablespoons
- Beat the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
- Sift the flour, rice flour and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit or 150° Celsius. Grease a large baking tray with butter or use a silicone baking sheet.
- Lightly flour a rolling surface and place the dough in the middle. Roll it out to ¼ inch thickness. Use a star cutter to make small star shapes. Reroll any leftover scraps and cut out additional stars.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a pale golden color. Cool in the baking tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the cookie glaze, sift the confectioner’s sugar into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice to form a spreadable icing.
- Decorate the top of the stars with icing and leave to set.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy Christmas baking.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade