Sugar Fairy Shortbread Bites

Can these Sugar Fairy Shortbread Bites be any cuter?  Tiny little shortbread cookies dipped in a yummy glaze and sprinkled with tiny nonpariels make a delightful little presentation especially for Valentine’s Day!

These buttery shortbread cookies are very easy to make!  You don’t even need a mixer.  Maybe a little bit of muscle, but not too much!  

Dipping them in the glaze is also a breeze and fun.  The little ones might enjoy helping with this task.  And, of course, sprinkling them with shiny tiny nonpariels is the most fun of all!

Combine softened butter with sugar and extracts and stir until it’s creamy.  

Add the flour and salt and finally the nonpariels.

Pat the dough into a prepared pan, refrigerate for 10 minutes and then use the foil overhangs from the prepared pan to lift the dough onto a cutting surface.  Cut the dough into 1-inch squares.  Place the squares on baking sheets and refrigerate again for 30 minutes.  Bake them for 13-18 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown.  Cool them completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, simply combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.  If you have to thin it, add a bit more half-and-half;  if it’s too thin, add a bit more powdered milk.  Color the glaze as desired.

Add some of the bites to the bowl of glaze and turn them over in the glaze so that they are completely covered.  Using a fork, let the excess glaze drip off of each bite.  Transfer each one to a wire rack set over a sheet pan and sprinkle with nonpariels.  This is important so the sprinkles don’t go everywhere!

Let the glaze set up and then enjoy these little darlings!

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Sugar Fairy Shortbread Bites

Makes: 81 1-inch bites

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
  • a few drops of pink or red food coloring (I use liquid food coloring), optional
  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp multi-colored nonpareils

For the Glaze:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp half & half (maybe more)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract


For the Cookies:

Heat oven to 325°F. Line 9-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides. Spray the foil and sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar and extracts in a large bowl. Stir until creamy and well combined. Add the flour and salt. Stir with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly. Stir in the nonpareils, leaving 1-2 teaspoons for the top.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat it to an even layer. I like to use the a flat bottom glass or a metal hamburger spatula to help pat and even out the dough.

Refrigerate for 10 minutes, then use the foil to lift the dough from the pan onto a cutting surface. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Place squares 1-inch apart onto 2 ungreased cookie sheets; discard foil.

Refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Bake on the center rack for 13-18 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Repeat with the second pan of cookies. Store in an airtight container.

For the Glaze:

Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium-size bowl and whisk until nice and smooth. The glaze should be fairly thick but spoonable. If it seems too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick add more half and half, a few drops at a time until desired consistency is reached. (See the picture above in the post.)

Transfer the icing to a shallow bowl. Add 3-4 of the shortbread bites to the bowl and spoon the icing over each one to completely coat.

Using a fork, bring one of the shortbread bites up out of the icing and allow the excess icing to drip back into the bowl. When most of the extra icing has dripped off, wipe the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl then transfer the cookie to a cooling rack and sprinkle with nonpareils. Repeat with remains shortbread bites.

Allow the icing to completely dry. It will take 3-4 hours (maybe longer). When you touch them the icing should feel hard and dry. When the icing is dry, flip the cookies over and let sit until the bottoms are also nice and dry.

Once the glaze has set, the shortbread bites can be stacked on a plate or platter or packed in bags or boxes to be given as gifts. If giving as a gift, I like to place the cookies in a plastic or cellophane bag and secure it with a twist tie to keep them fresh.

Store in an airtight container. These cookies can also be frozen. When ready to serve, remove them from the freezer and thaw in a single layer.

Recipe by The Cafe Sucre Farine


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