Birthday Cake Shortbread Cookie Bites are bite size cookies filled with rainbow sprinkles. They are tender, buttery, and taste like birthday cake.
These adorable birthday cake shortbread cookie bites are the perfect finger food for your next birthday party. Or, just because. Do we need a reason to make rainbow sprinkle cookies?
You'll love this recipe because you only need six ingredients, most of which you already have on hand. What makes these shortbread cookies special is the blend of vanilla extract and almond extract.
If you've never had a shortbread cookie before, these cookies are tender, buttery, and dense, since they contain no leavening agents. They are excellent served with coffee or tea.
Ingredients and substitutions
Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
Confectioner's sugar can be substituted with granulated sugar. For ¾ cup of confectioner's sugar, use ½ cup of granulated sugar.
Sprinkles can be substituted with mini chocolate chips. I find rainbow jimmies are best used in baked goods, because the colors don't run when mixed into the batter.
Nonpareils (tiny round sprinkles) are not my favorite choice because their color tends to run when mixed into dough.
Room temperature butter
Room temperature butter is needed to make these cookies because it will easily incorporate with the other ingredients and make a creamy, consistent texture.
This also ensure that your cookies will bake up evenly and perfectly every time.
Room temperature butter should not be substituted with cold butter or melted butter.
Properly measured flour
Because shortbread cookies contain so few ingredients, I find it even more important to properly measure your flour for this recipe. This is the most common mistake readers make when preparing any of my shortbread cookies, so I include this tip with every recipe now.
To properly measure flour, scoop your flour using a spoon into your measuring cup. Then, use a knife to level off the surface of the flour. This ensures you are adding just the right amount of flour to your cookie recipe.
If you scoop your flour using the measuring scoop, it compacts flour into the measuring cup and adds up to 25% extra flour to your recipe. If you've ever had cookies that didn't spread, or felt too cakey and thick, this is likely the reason why.
Texture of shortbread dough
First, you'll cream together your butter and sugar. Then, you'll add your salt and all-purpose flour. This may be difficult to do by hand - I like to use a hand mixer for this reason. Your dough will be very thick and crumbly.
While mixing, it will take a while for your butter and flour to combine. If it looks very crumbly and dry, but you can see chunks of butter that aren't yet mixed in - keep mixing. I promise, your dough will come together.
Grab a bit of dough and pinch it together with your hands. If the dough sticks together and holds its shape, your dough is the proper texture.
Birthday Cake Shortbread Cookie Bites
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup confectioner's sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons rainbow jimmies
- In a bowl, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- In a separate bowl, sift (or whisk) together the flour and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix until a dough forms (dough may be slightly crumbly, but holds together when pinched together). Add rainbow jimmies and mix until just combined.
- Press dough into a parchment lined 9x13 baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes (chilling the dough helps prevent unwanted spreading in the oven). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Pull dough out of the pan with the parchment paper. Slice dough into about ¾" rows across and down to create tiny squares. Place squares about 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet. It will take 2 or more cookie sheets to bake all of your cookies, so store any remaining dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies begin to lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from sheet to cool completely.
- Confectioner's sugar can be substituted with granulated sugar. Substitute ¾ cup of confectioner's sugar with ½ cup of granulated sugar. My original recipe used granulated sugar, but I find confectioner's sugar easier to work with in shortbread dough.
- Cookies will keep for 5-7 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- Raw dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. If dough has been refrigerated for more than 30 minutes, allow to warm up at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.
- Cookie dough and baked cookies freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag.
- Shortbread cookies are very tender straight from the oven. Allow them to cool before handling.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!