Funfetti Shortbread Cookies, Embossed and Plain
Made with colored jimmies—as embossed cookies or simply cut into squares, Funfetti Shortbread Cookies are an easy and fun!
Winter is long—but isn’t it fun when spring arrives! To get in the spirit I like to make cute snacks like spring chocolate dipped pretzel rods. And today I’m making Funfetti Shortbread Cookies—two ways!
For the first version, I use an embossed roller, which makes it super easy to create an especially pretty cookie. Even for people (like me) with no decorating skills!
For the second version, I make funfetti shortbread bites—for anyone who doesn’t have an embossed roller! ‘Cause Funfetti Shortbread Cookies with Sprinkles are too cute to pass up!
Have You Heard of Funfetti?
In case you haven’t heard, Wikipedia tells us that the funfetti phenomenom started in 1989 when “the Pillsbury Company introduced a new type of cake called “Funfetti” cake, a portmanteau of fun and confetti… Confetti cake is a type of cake that has rainbow colored sprinkles baked into the batter” which look like confetti when baked!
Now before long this was being used for more than cake. Thinks donuts, fudge, confetti madeleines and confetti shortbread cookies!
I have heard that people make funfetti cookies with the cake mix too. But these scratch funfetti cookies are so easy, you can probably make them in less time than a trip to the store. And with homemade, you can change the sprinkle colors, go organic, or make any other changes that you’d like.
Why you’ll love these
Festive. Not sure what it is about sprinkles but they always make me feel happy! And I like to add joy any time I can!
Tasty. Even plain vanilla shortbread is a classic—because it tastes so good!
Impressive (even with no skills!). Want to look like a really talented cookie maker? Look no further than the embossed version!
What you’ll need
- Butter. This provides the characteristic buttery flavor of shortbread and helps hold together the ingredients.
- Powdered Sugar. This sweetens the dough and the starch in it helps provide the characteristic melty mouthfeel.
- Egg. This is not a typical shortbread ingredient, but it does help hold the dough together and adds richness.
- Flour. This provides the main body of the cookie.
- Vanilla. Adds flavor.
- Colorful sprinkles. Makes these pretty and unique!
Special Tools (for embossed style only)
- Rolling pin. This is to do the initial roll out of the cookies
- Embossed Roller. This special roller presses in the design.
No embossed roller? Go with the shortbread bites!
How to Use an Embossed Roller
The inspiration for my Funfetti Shortbread Cookies came from the blog La Table de Nana. She used a similar rolling pin to make some seriously cute chocolate cookies (which I still intend to try). I’ve been eyeing up embossed rolling pins for a while and that was the final push I needed.
I had hesitated to buy the embossed roller fearing it would be difficult to use. But in the end, it was easy. Here are some tips that can help things go more smoothly.
Buy a roller with a deep, sharp design. When you bake your cookies, you will lose a little of the imprint sharpness, and you don’t want a design that will disappear on you. I paid a little more for an embossed roller from Etsy after reading some Amazon reviews about rollers that didn’t work because they were too shallow.
Use the right recipe. To retain your design, you will need to use a recipe that is less moist and lower in leavening– baking soda and extra butter are not your friends here. Light, puffy cookies won’t keep the sharper edges you want. And because the moisture content of ingredients will vary, add extra flour if the dough is very sticky–it should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
Start with a regular roller. The design on the roller can get filled with cookie dough (see below for solution), so you want to roll the dough out to about ¼ inch first with a plain rolling pin. The embossed rolling pin can do the final roll when you are ready to press in the design.
Use a non-stick spray or brush with oil before use. Again, to help keep the roller clean, as well as prevent sticking, oil or spray it before use, and re-spray as needed.
Pre-chill the dough. A chilled dough will roll out better, so you will want to chill before rolling. Press hard when rolling with the patterned roller to make a deep impression.
After you have cut out your cookies, chill again before baking to help retain the design. You can refrigerate for a half hour (or longer) or if you are in a hurry freeze for 10 minutes.
Wash the roller using the sink sprayer, dry, oil. My biggest fear was that the roller would be full of cookie dough that would be impossible to get out. I quickly found that spraying with the sink sprayer at full pressure, knocked out the moist dough very quickly. I then dried and re-oiled the roller before using again or putting away.
How to make Funfetti Shortbread Bites
For the simpler version, I made bite-sized shortbread squares.
I use the same dough, except I mix only half the sprinkles into the dough and put the other sprinkles aside.
Then I shaped the dough into a 9 x 9 square. To make this easy I lined a 9 x 9 pan with parchment, then pressed in the dough.
When this was formed, I pressed the extra sprinkles in the top, to make sure we had lots of color showing!
Next I pulled up the dough using the parchment as “handles.” I used a long knife to cut the dough into 1 ½ inch squares for a “mini shortbread” recipe.
I popped these into the freezer for 10 minutes, then set them on a baking sheet and baked.
I love the beautiful colors in any shape!
Tips and FAQs
My biggest challenge was simply not over-browning my funfetti shortbread cookies. Yup, I’m one of those people who’s been known to burn an occasional tray of cookies!
If you don’t want to invest in the roller, but still want to try the fancier version, cookie stamps are a less expensive option. Michaels usually has them in designs for every season.
Because the moisture content of ingredients will vary, add extra flour if the dough is very sticky–it should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
I have talked a little about how versatile this cookie is. First you can change up the colors to match any holiday or occasion. School colors for a team event? Pink and blue for a baby shower?
Besides changing up the sprinkle colors, you can use the embossed roller with different flavors of dough. You just need to be sure the dough is rigid enough to retain the design, so I recommend using a recipe that is tested for an embossed roller. For Christmas, I love these embossed gingerbread cookies!
Made with an embossed roller and colored jimmies—or simply cut into squares, Funfetti Shortbread Cookies are an easy treat to bring some fun into your life. See "Notes" below for changes if you make the "shortbread bites". Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour until well combined (see note). Fold in jimmies by hand (a mixer will break them up too much). Knead dough a few times until it comes together. Chill in refrigerator at least ½ hour. Roll dough with a standard roller to about ¼ inch thick. When at correct thinness, roll with embossed roller to press in design (this will thin it a little more which is fine). Position a cookie cutter over nice areas of the design and cut out cookies. Chill cookies in freezer for about 10 minutes or refrigerator for about ½ hour. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 F. Start checking for doneness at 7 minutes, then every minute Because the moisture content of ingredients will vary, add extra flour if the dough is very sticky--it should be slightly tacky, but not sticky. --------- For the shortbread bites version, mix all ingredients as above, but reserve half of the sprinkles and don't refrigerate the dough until after you cut it. Form the dough into a 9 inch square. Press in the remaining sprinkles, then cut into bite-sized squares. Refrigerate for a half hour or freeze for 10 minutes then bake as instructed above. Makes 12-36 cookies, depending on size.
Funfetti Shortbread Cookies (Two Ways)
thereafter until cookies are just starting to brown. Cool on wire rack.
Originally published February 2019.
Made with an embossed roller and colored jimmies—or simply cut into squares, Funfetti Shortbread Cookies are an easy treat to bring some fun into your life.
See "Notes" below for changes if you make the "shortbread bites".
Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla.
Gradually add flour until well combined (see note). Fold in jimmies by hand (a mixer will break them up too much).
Knead dough a few times until it comes together. Chill in refrigerator at least ½ hour.
Roll dough with a standard roller to about ¼ inch thick. When at correct thinness, roll with embossed roller to press in design (this will thin it a little more which is fine). Position a cookie cutter over nice areas of the design and cut out cookies. Chill cookies in freezer for about 10 minutes or refrigerator for about ½ hour.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 F. Start checking for doneness at 7 minutes, then every minute
Because the moisture content of ingredients will vary, add extra flour if the dough is very sticky--it should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
For the shortbread bites version, mix all ingredients as above, but reserve half of the sprinkles and don't refrigerate the dough until after you cut it.
Form the dough into a 9 inch square. Press in the remaining sprinkles, then cut into bite-sized squares. Refrigerate for a half hour or freeze for 10 minutes then bake as instructed above.
Makes 12-36 cookies, depending on size.
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I was wondering if you can double or triple the dough recipe? I need to make a bunch for Christmas. Thank you.
Yes you can double or triple this without a problem. I would just spread out the dough some or divide it when you chill it since a giant ball will be harder to get chilled in the center. Happy baking!
I tried the cookie recipe today and it was somewhat sticky even after being chilled. I can’t believe there weren’t any comments about how technique oriented this is to use the wooden roller. I bought an expensive one and had a lot of trouble getting a cookie cut out with good definition, it’s not easy. Your cookie did taste good. I guess I need more practice ! Merry Christmas to all and happy baking.
Try adding more flour next time if it seems too sticky Joan. Yes, the rollers are particular. Too shallow and your design won’t stay,too small a design (even if deep) and your dough will get stuck. But since you mentioned sticky, I’m thinking that’s the likely culprit. I’ll go back and emphasize that you may need to adjust the flour. I’m confident you’ll love this with a little more practice! Thanks for commenting!
I may have missed it in the recipes for shortbread ,and the gingerbread cookies, but do you grease the cookie sheets , or not?? Wasn’t sure… thanks in advance for your answer.
Since these have so much butter (they are essentially a rolled butter cookie), I don’t grease the pan. I thought it simply wasn’t needed but I just read that greasing a pan can actually cause the cookie to spread more–which you wouldn’t want in this case. Since the gingerbread cookies have a bit less butter, I did grease the pan. Now I an second guessing that and will have to test it ungreased sometime (though I haven’t had problems with it spreading). I have updated this recipe (the gingerbread did say “sprayed” at least in the recipe card). Thanks for sending me on an interesting research project 🙂
These cookies are beautiful! Do they taste like a sugar cookie? Do you use all purpose or self-rising flour? Thanks!
Thanks Laura! I use all purpose flour. You need to limit the rise in them if you want to keep the design intact. They are probably closer to a butter cookie than a sugar cookie, and they have enough flavor so I don’t feel any need to frost them!
These are gorgeous and I must put one of those rolling pins on my wish list!
lovely, exquisite, beautiful! these are the best cookies i’ve seen in a long time and i’m very tempted to seek out a rolling pin like that right now!
High praise from a fine baker like you Grace! I was pretty pleased with how well they came out with such a reasonable effort.
This looks SO good! I love the creativity and colours! I want some now haha!
Thanks Samantha. Yes, I keep wanting to make more 🙂
These are so cute. I love the colours and the patterns. I must get myself one of those rollers – mine is just the plain variety. It’s been so hot here we’ve been glad to move on to autumn although so far, the temperature hasn’t changed xx
I seriously recommend the roller. And yes, I’ve heard there’s a lot of waiting for the weather to change all over!
Inger, these are so beautiful. And now I think I need an embossed roller as well 🙂
Go for it Tandy–so much fun!
I absolutely love these, Inger! What a fabulous way to use my Polish rolling pin! I have pink red and white jimmies from Valentine’s Day – they will look lovely! Brava!
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you own a similar rolling pin David! Red, pink and white would be so pretty for Valentine’s Day! Or green for St Pat’s with a shamrock cutter?
Wow! I love them..your photos are wonderful and I just love how happy and Springlike these are..:)Pinning!!
You were the inspiration Monique! Thanks so much!
I just purchased my roller–finally, after doing the same type of research you did and being hesitant. It literally just arrived; it’s still in the packaging from Poland.
When did you add the sprinkles?
I added the jimmies when everything else was mixed together and mixed them in by hand so they wouldn’t get smashed up. I also have an embossed roller gingerbread recipe here: https://artofnaturalliving.com/holiday-embossed-gingerbread-cookies/ that I like as well. Have fun–I’ve never regretted buying this!
These are beautiful, Inger! I have a springerle rolling pin but it makes square designs. I love your pin and now I want one! Good point about the deep design, otherwise the design just bakes away. I use a stiff brush that looks like a large toothbrush for cleaning these implements. Works great on my grater, too.
Thanks Willow. I’ll remember the stiff brush trick–I first tried a fondue fork and that was terrible! Now that I’ve had so much fun with this I may want some other designs–guess I better now eat that many cookies though 🙂 Here is the etsy shop mine came from https://www.etsy.com/shop/GOODYWOODYcompl if you are looking for some more inspiration 🙂
Yeah, they are difficult to clean. Water is fine on wooden rolling pins, but not any extended soaking. Swells the wood and also helps it harbor bacteria. Thanks for the link! I’m going to go check it out.
I follow Monique and she really is an inspiration as you are now too! Love, love, love those adorable cookies. They are so cute. I’m pinning. Thank you so very much for all your helpful tips.
I had so much fun I just had to share Karen! Hope you get a change to try sometime!
Oh Inger, these cookies are so cute…I love the colorful sprinkles…perfect for Easter…thanks for sharing the recipe.
I hope you are having a wonderful week!
Thanks Juliana. Hope your week went well too!