Shamrock cookies are a traditional Irish-American dessert made with flour, sugar, eggs and butter. They can be prepared in a variety of ways such as using dried or fresh fruit pieces, chopped nuts, chocolate chips or raisins.
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Cookies are a traditional Irish dessert that is typically made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. This recipe uses almond meal as the flour in order to keep it vegan-friendly.
These soft-baked vanilla bean sugar cookies may be cut into whatever shape you like using your favorite cookie cutters. For St. Patrick’s Day, I’m displaying shamrock-shaped cookies! The vanilla bean cookies are mildly sweetened without the icing and go well with coffee or tea. If you want to go all out, top the cake with Buttercream with Vanilla Beans and a sprinkling of sprinkles.
If you’re searching for a festive treat to offer on St. Patrick’s Day, these shamrock cookies are a great choice. They pay respect to Ireland’s patron saint. On March 17th, I normally prepare a batch of Guinness brownies, but this year I thought sugar cookies would be a lot of fun since my eldest likes to decorate them. (Disclaimer– I piped buttercream on the shown sugar cookies manually, despite the fact that sprinkles hide some unsightly places… Over here, I’m not a pro!)
These Vanilla Bean Shamrock Cookies are made with the following ingredients:
- simple to construct and embellish
- St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous occasion.
- soft & thick if you don’t roll the dough too thin
- deliciously buttery
- genuine vanilla bean flavoring
Even without the buttercream, these shamrock cookies have much to offer— they’re buttery, remind me of shortbread, and the vanilla bean flavor shows through!
Let me provide some tips and photographs to ensure that you get this recipe properly the first time:
My All-Time Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe
Now is the time to try my sugar cookies if you haven’t before. Almost all of my shaped sugar cookies are made using that sugar cookie recipe, which you can find on the new Cut Out Cookies page. Sugar cookies are popular because they are soft, thick, keep their form in the oven, and have a flat surface that may be decorated. Today’s recipe is the same, but with the addition of vanilla bean and a little departure from typical royal icing.
For today’s shamrock cookies, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped: 1 vanilla bean, scraped: 1 vanilla bean, scraped: 1 vanilla bean, scraped: 1 vanilla bean, You may get vanilla bean online if you can’t locate it in your local grocery shop. These are the same vanilla beans I use and adore, and they’re also what I use to make homemade vanilla extract and vanilla sugar.
- Optional Vanilla Sugar: While we’re on the subject of homemade vanilla sugar… Have you ever tried it in a recipe? Because vanilla sugar is best utilized in dishes where vanilla is the dominant flavor, today’s recipe is a fantastic fit for it. Simply substitute it for conventional granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Although I’ve made these sugar cookies previously using vanilla sugar, I didn’t use it in today’s shown cookies.
- Cookie Cutter: Any cookie cutter will work with today’s vanilla bean sugar cookie batter. I used the medium and small cookie cutters from this same shamrock cookie cutter set to make the shamrocks. I know Michaels sells shamrock cookie cutters, and if you’re looking for a single shamrock cookie cutter, this 3-inch size is a good choice.
The Order of Steps is the Secret
After the cookie dough has come together, roll it out and refrigerate the parts of dough that have been rolled out. Bake the refrigerated dough after cutting it into shamrocks or other shapes.
Isn’t it interesting how I lay out the dough before chilling it?
That’s the trick, and I’ll show you why it works. The cookie dough must be chilled beforehand to prevent the cookies from spreading too much. After you’ve prepared the dough, roll it out and refrigerate it. (The dough is too soft to cut into shapes at this time.) If you refrigerate the cookie dough before rolling it out, it will be too cold and stiff to roll out. I cut the dough in half before rolling it out, and I strongly advise you to do the same since smaller chunks of dough are much simpler to work with.
Yet another ruse! To make it easier to transfer the cookie dough to the refrigerator, roll it out immediately on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Pick it up and set it on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator doesn’t have enough space for two baking sheets, stack the rolled-out dough pieces on top of each other. (That is exactly what I do.)
It’s time to form and bake the rolled-out dough after chilling it:
You may use royal icing, simpler cookie frosting, or the depicted Buttercream with Vanilla Beans to adorn the vanilla bean shamrock cookies. The Buttercream with Vanilla Beans recipe below is identical to ordinary vanilla buttercream, except it only creates enough to ice a batch of cookies using a piping tip, knife, or icing spatula. The icing, like the sugar cookies, contains vanilla bean.
Buttercream St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Decorations
- This frosting doesn’t have much of a crust: The frosting does not entirely crust, despite the fact that it does firm slightly. If you want a crustier buttercream, half of the butter may be replaced with shortening.
- This frosting may be colored in a variety of ways: Feel free to color the Buttercream with Vanilla Beans any way you choose. I suggest using gel food coloring to keep the buttercream’s consistency. Americolor foliage green was utilized. Though I must admit that I really liked how the cookies with uncolored buttercream looked since the vanilla bean flecks were visible!
- Make it two-toned: Do you recall how I demonstrated how to create two-toned frosting roses? Two-toned green buttercream is used on some of the shamrock cookies shown. To do so, fill your piping bag with two or more colors of buttercream. I used green buttercream that was uncolored (white-ish). The colors will swirl together as you pipe, giving each frosted biscuit a unique appearance. It’s lovely!
Fit the piping bag into a tall cup beforehand to make frosting filling easier. The cup keeps the piping bag open and erect, making filling a breeze.
Don’t worry if you make a blunder while decorating cookies with buttercream; sprinkles will cover it up. Please let me know if you try these vanilla bean cookies, which are fashioned like a shamrock and are garnished with a shamrock. They are, however, plain.
Desserts for St. Patrick’s Day
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These soft-baked vanilla bean sugar cookies may be cut into whatever shape you like using your favorite cookie cutters. You may leave them plain or decorate them with the Buttercream with Vanilla Beans recipe, royal icing, or this simple cookie frosting.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed for rolling and work surface
- a half teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted to room temperature (1.5 sticks or 170g)
- 150g granulated sugar, 3/4 cup
- 1 entire vanilla bean, scraped for seeds*
- 1 big room-temperature egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
Buttercream with Vanilla Beans
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted to room temperature (1.5 sticks; 170g)
- scraped seeds off half a vanilla bean*
- 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (360g) (sift after measuring)
- 3 tbsp. (45 mL) heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk, room temperature
- a teaspoon and a half of pure vanilla extract
- to taste with salt
- tinting using gel food coloring is an alternative.
- Sprinkles for decoration are optional.
- In a medium mixing basin, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Remove from the equation.
- 1 minute on high speed, whip the butter and sugar together in a large mixing basin with a hand mixer or a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla bean seeds and continue to beat for another 1-2 minutes, or until the butter is creamy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat on high speed for 1 minute, or until completely blended. Scrape along the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as required to ensure complete mixing.
- Combine the dry and wet ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on low speed until well blended. The dough will be a touch crumbly. Add 1 Tablespoon extra flour if the dough is too soft and sticky to roll.
- Separate the dough into two equal halves. Place each chunk on a parchment paper or silicone baking surface that has been gently floured. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4-inch thickness using a lightly floured rolling pin. If the dough is too sticky, add extra flour. The rolled-out dough may be any form as long as it is 1/4-inch thick all the way around.
- Dust one of the rolled-out doughs lightly with flour. On top of it, place a sheet of paper. (This keeps things from adhering together.) Place the second rolled-out dough on top of the first. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days after covering with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) once cold. Use parchment paper or silicone baking mats to line 2-3 large baking sheets. Remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator with care. Run your fingers beneath it to assist remove it if it’s stuck to the bottom. Cut the dough into shapes using a cookie cutter. Reroll the leftover dough and cut until all of it is gone. Rep with the second piece of dough. (Note: It may seem that there isn’t much dough, but the dough scraps you re-roll provide a lot of cookies.)
- Place cookies 3 inches apart on baking pans. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until the edges are gently browned. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking time if your oven has hot areas. Allow 5 minutes for the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully before decorating.
- To make the buttercream frosting, whisk the butter and vanilla bean seeds together on medium speed for 2 minutes using a handheld or stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. For 30 seconds, beat on moderate speed, then raise to medium-high pace and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. If the frosting is excessively sweet, add a sprinkle of salt. To tint the frosting, divide it into a couple of bowls (or however many colors of frosting you want). Add 1-2 drops of gel food coloring to the mixture (or more, depending on your desired color).
- Frost the cookies when they have cooled. You may use a knife, an icing spatula, or a piping bag and a piping tip to adorn the cookies. If desired, garnish with sprinkles. I used an Ateco 30 piping tip and filled a piping bag with spoonfuls of both green and uncolored frosting for the shown cookies. As the three leaves, pipe hearts, and a line as the stem.
- Frosting does not solidify or crust very well, so you may gently stack one frosted biscuit on top of another with minor squishing. Frosted cookies may be kept covered at room temperature for up to 1 day or refrigerated for up to 1 week. Unfrosted cookies may be stored for up to 5 days at room temperature or 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Sugar cookies, plain or iced, may be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Before rolling out the cookie dough, you may freeze it for up to 3 months. Prepare the dough according to step 3, then split it in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover each in plastic wrap, and freeze. Thaw the disks in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour before bringing them to room temperature. Roll out the dough as indicated in step 4, then refrigerate it for 45 minutes to an hour before cutting it into shapes and baking it.
- Room Temperature Butter: It’s crucial to use room temperature butter. If the dough is excessively sticky, it’s possible that your butter was too soft. Butter is really chilly to the touch at room temperature. This post has additional information about it. It’s best to use a room temperature egg so it can be blended into the cookie batter quickly and evenly.
- Vanilla Bean: The seeds from 1 complete vanilla bean are used in the cookie batter, and 1/2 of a vanilla bean is used in the icing. (You may also use 1 whole bean in the icing for added flavor.) To extract the seeds out of a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise with a tiny knife and scrape the vanilla seeds out with the dull side of the knife.
- Vanilla Bean Paste May Be Used Instead of Vanilla Beans: If you have vanilla bean paste, you can use it instead of vanilla beans. When adding the vanilla essence, add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste. If you wish to use vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract and vanilla bean, use 1 Tablespoon paste when you add the vanilla extract.
- Is it possible to tint the cookie dough? If you don’t want to use icing but still want a green or other colorful dessert, add a few drops of gel food coloring to the dry ingredients/flour mixture before adding the wet components.
- Special Tools: Rolling Pin, Cookie Cutters (I use the small & medium from this shamrock cookie cutter set), Parchment Paper (I like these sheets) or Silicone Baking Mats, optional Gel Food Coloring such as Americolor Leaf Green, Buttercream Piping Tip such as Ateco 30 (what I used in pictured cookies) or Wilton 30, Disposable Piping Bags or Reusable Piping Bags
shamrock cookies with vanilla bean
Baking Made Simple
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St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Cookies are a traditional cookie that is made with green food coloring and an all-purpose flour. The cookies have a crunchy texture, which makes them perfect for the holiday. Reference: st patricks day cookie recipes.
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