Advent Calendar Day 6 – Shortbread Decorations

December 6, 2012Sew White

Advent Calendar Day 6

The lovely @slightlyburnt on twitter recently sent me some gorgeous photos of Christmas shortbread made using the Sew White snowflake cutter and holly leave cutter. I loved them so much I asked Slightly Burnt to write up a little tutorial on how making the decorations went.

If you want to make these the lovely decorations @LancashireFood has been amazing and shared with us a lovely shortbread recipe.

image from

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 175g butter(unsalted) – softened
  • 75g caster sugar
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until just coming together, tip out onto floured surface and form a ball of dough, shape and roll to desired shapes, place on baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven @ 160c fan / 180c no fan until lightly golden ( about 15-30 mins depends on thickness), remove from oven ( If you aren’t decorating them – sprinkle with caster sugar and cut whilst warm into desired pieces.) Cool then eat, delicious. Store in an airtight tin.

Here is the post from @slightlyburnt on decorating the shortbread.


The aim of this post is to show you how to decorate your shortbread using easily available items to make a good looking seasonal biscuit.

First of all you’re going to need the following equipment:

  • A snowflake cookie cutter
  • A set of holly leaf plunge cutters
  • A sugarcraft rolling-pin

I bought the first two items from Sew White who delivered them surprisingly quickly and the rolling-pin was from Hobbycraft. The rolling-pins come in a variety of sizes of which 9 inch would be a good choice.

With that sorted you will also need the following ingredients:

  • Shortbread dough from your favourite recipe
  • Red sugarpaste
  • Green sugarpaste
  • Icing sugar
  • Edible glue or a suitable alternative
  • Caster sugar

Sugarpaste is a form of pliable icing which is used for cake decoration and resembles plasticine. You could buy white sugarpaste along with some food colouring to make your own colours or even make it all from scratch if you wanted to but the ready made blocks are pretty cheap and very convenient to use. I used Regalice by Renshaw for my decorations.

Once you have everything together just follow the simple steps below to create your holly decorated shortbread snowflakes.

1. Prepare the dough according to your recipe, use the snowflake cutter to cut out your shortbread and then bake.

2. Allow to cool fully before decorating.

3. Cut off a strip of green sugarpaste about an inch thick and knead it until it becomes warm and pliable. You could use a thicker strip of sugarpaste if you like but I find it easier to work with a little at a time.

4. Dust your work surface and rolling-pin with a thin layer of icing sugar to stop the sugarpaste from sticking.

5. Roll out the sugarpaste to a depth of 1-3mm depending on personal preference.

6. If you’re using the holly cutters from Sew White select the medium size and give it a light coating of icing sugar. Easiest way to do this is to have a small pile of icing sugar next to you so you can dip the cutter in as needed. If you’re using a different set of holly cutters and/or a different snowflake cutter just select a size that looks good to you.

7. Brush off any excess icing sugar and then push the cutter into the sugarpaste, once it has cut all the way through press the plunger down to imprint the sugarpaste with leaf details.

8. Lift the cutter and at this point your holly leaves may lift up with the cutter but that’s not a problem as you can just press the plunger down again and then carefully remove them.

9. If all has gone to plan you should now have a set of holly leaves ready to be placed onto your shortbread. If all didn’t go to plan re-roll the sugarpaste and try again.

10. Carefully lift up the leaves and stick them to the top of your shortbread using a little edible glue. If you don’t have edible glue then you could use anything that’s sticky and edible such as jam, honey or chocolate spread but remember that you will be able to taste what you use, however in the case of those three that might not be such a bad thing. If you want something flavourless I’ve had vodka recommended to me by Sew White so give that a go if you have some.

11. Next you’ll need to make the berries which are simple enough as you just need to break off small pieces of red sugarpaste and roll them into balls, three balls per set of holly leaves. Stick them onto the holly leaves and again use whatever you have to hand, I’ve even seen it mentioned that you can stick sugarpaste to sugarpaste just using water but I haven’t tried that myself yet.

12. Repeat for the rest of your biscuits and then give them all a light sprinkling of caster sugar or icing sugar to resemble snow. Caster sugar looks good as you can see the crystals but icing sugar does cover up burnt bits quite nicely…

And that’s that, one batch of holly decorated shortbread snowflakes all done and ready for Christmas.

Thank you Slightly Burnt for writing this wonderful blog post and thank you to LancashireFood for letting us share your shortbread recipe!


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