Shortbread Play-Dough Cookies

We’ve got some Cane fans here! Woosh, Woosh!

Yes, we are fans of the Miami Hurricanes. We love us some orange and green.

I’m also a fan of our little buddy Nicky – who happens to be a fan of play-dough that magically transforms into something you can actually eat.

Lots of fan-type stuff going on in this post.

It’s a fan trail. A pack of fans. A fanny pack.

. . . That was a really long way to a really bad joke.

So I knew I had spotted some sort of play-dough looking cookies somewhere on the internet, somewhere in time, and the recipe is clipped away safely, somewhere on my computer.

But something also told me that these cookies were also going to be some kind of disgusting as far as taste goes.

So when Nicky was obsessed the other day with making play-dough cookies and his mom asked me if I knew how to make some, I thought of these.

I went the route of shortbread instead.

If you’re a shortbread lover, you’ll love these cookies too.

And the cool thing is that you can make the cookies into the colors of your favorite football team.

The kids can squish it, roll it, dip it, and smoosh it down with some sort of awesome patterned pressy-downy thing of your choice.

We used the potato masher.

Just remember – it’s super soft, and it is really way more squishy than regular play-dough. It’s sticks some, but whatevs, right? Real play-dough doesn’t stick, but it tastes like . . . well, you can finish that on your own.

I’ll take a little squishy-stickiness with my play-dough so I can reap the benefits of delicious cookies in the end.

We didn’t try to cut these with cookie cutters, so I can’t say how well it would work. What did work well, was smooshing it around and playing a little bit, but then rolling it into balls, rolling them in vanilla sugar, and pressing them down before baking.

If you notice in the pictures, the Babe’s hands spent very little time actually manipulating the dough. They mostly moved in a well established route from the mound of dough to her mouth.

It’s all good. 


For those of you who don’t normally bake – shortbread is a totally awesome thing to start with.

Butter, sugar, and flour. That’s pretty much it except for a little bit of salt, baking powder, and vanilla.

Oh – and your colors.

But you get the point. It’s easy, and it’s a little rainy afternoon craft project that morphs into dessert.


Oh – and, if you wanted to get all creepy with your colors, you could totally do them in orange and green and purple – maybe even black – and make some sinister little shortbread snacks for Halloween.


My little friend Nicky – have fun. If you need help talking your mom into baking, just call me. I’ll handle it! 😉


Shortbread Play-Dough Cookies

Cake flour is what makes these cookies so amazingly soft. They pretty much dissolve in your mouth. You could use regular, all-purpose flour in a pinch though. Vanilla sugar adds an aromatic little punch to the outside of the cookies, so it's delightful, but certainly not necessary. Regular granulated sugar will work just fine.


  • 8 oz. (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (vanilla bean would be awesome here too!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar for dipping/rolling (plain granulated sugar is fine too!)


In a medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add in food coloring of choice and mix until evenly distributed. (You can divide the dough into two parts and do two colors, if you like). Turn dough out onto parchment or waxed paper and play!

If the dough is too sticky, feel free to add more flour. Just beware that the more flour you add, the tougher the cookies will be. When you are ready to bake cookies, roll the dough into balls (I used a half tablespoon measure to keep the cookies consistent in size), then roll the ball in vanilla sugar (or plain granulated sugar). Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart, and press down lightly with fingers. If you want to press a pattern into the top, do it now. You can use a fork to criss cross, or a potato masher like we did, or even a meat tenderizer to give them a diamond pattern.

Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. Don't over-bake! The best way to tell if these are done is to check them for just a tiny bit of golden color on the bottom. You don't want the edges to be dark and really, the tops should not brown at all. Just a little tiny bit of golden color on the bottom is all you need. You can check for this by pulling the tray out of the oven (with mitts, of course!) and carefully lifting a cookie with a spatula and peeking underneath. Once you know the time for the first tray, you'll know for the rest.


Adapted from Kari's Cooking


16 thoughts on “Shortbread Play-Dough Cookies

  1. Haha, what do you mean, “Talk your Mom into baking?”


    Who, me?!

    Yes, I need some persuading, but those are really cute! I don’t know how wild I am about eating food my kids have been playing with (no matter how clean their hands are), but I’m sure once they were baked that feeling would magically melt away 🙂

  2. I’m with Lara on this one…..

    My first thought was “Um…. just HOW clean can I get the kids’ hands?”

    The answer? Not.Clean.Enough.

    Regardless, they look delish 😉

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