Cut-out Irish Shamrock Cookies are the sweetest little treats you'll have on St. Patrick's Day! All you need to make the shamrock shape is a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter.
In an attempt to make the cutest St. Patrick's Day cookies ever, I simply turned mini hearts into Irish shamrocks. Adorable!
Green clover cookies sitting just right on your plate make the sweetest, easy to pop-in-your-mouth-and-eat, treats. Little fingers will love helping in the process, and love eating them too.
The dough is a rich, shortbread-type cookie with a base of confectioners' sugar. Unlike regular sugar cookies it melts a bit on your tongue when you eat it.
Instead of making sugar cookies, I made these St. Patrick's Day cookies with a shortbread base.
Equal parts butter and confectioners' sugar is combined with six egg yolks and flour to create melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Vanilla extract and a pinch of salt add flavor and round out the flavor profile.
To decorate the cookies, I used my favorite royal icing recipe. I go into more detail about coloring the icing later in this post.
How to Make Irish Shamrock Cookies
I used heart cutters like these, some royal icing tinted in pretty shades of green, and shiny crystals of sugar to make these cookies. Here's an overview of how they're made:
- In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and blend together.
- Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla and salt.
- Stir in flour until completely incorporated.
- Wrap and chill dough for about 30 minutes. Don't skip this step!
- Once chilled, roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut heart shapes with 1- to 1½-inch cookie cutters.
- Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden around edges. Cool completely.
Tip: Make sure you leave time to chill the dough, it makes such a difference when rolling it out.
Coloring the Royal Icing
I used royal icing to decorate the this shamrock cookies.
I use royal icing when I want an icing or frosting that makes a smooth top to my cookies, when I want vibrant colors (with a butter icing the colors are harder to achieve), and when I want an icing that sets so I can package the cookies easily.
My favorite food coloring are these gel pastes. They come in so many mixable colors. I used leaf green and yellow to create the chartreuse color, and a little forest green for the darker hue.
Assembling the Irish Clover Cookies
When the little hearts are placed together on your serving tray you can make three or four leaf clovers!
And for the stems I like arranging my little clovers on whatever platter I have on hand. That means I can get creative with their shape and size.
I arrange the hearts to make shamrocks and then use a small brush to add an icing "stem" on the plate. It's an easy way to make the cute shamrock stems. And for the lucky ones, a four-leaf clover instead of three!
Tip: It's also fun to package these in a flat box and let people nibble on the little hearts when they get the gift.
Tips for Making Irish Shamrock Cookies
- Roll cold dough with a little muscle as quickly as you can. The butter in the dough warms quickly and holds its shape the best when it’s cut cold.
- If you'd like, roll sheets of the dough on parchment paper and then chill the sheets before cutting. I think this is always a fail-safe way to get beautiful shaped cookies.
- Simplify this idea as much as you'd like. Use store bought cookie dough and canned icing, if that's easier for you. I would zap the canned icing in the microwave for a few seconds to make it a more glaze-like consistency.
- I use my standard royal icing in this recipe, but I also like using this Lemon Royal Icing for a little spring brightness! It gives a citrus kick to the flavor.
More Of The Best Cookies In The World
- Honey Cut Out Cookies
- Blossom Cookies with Cashew Butter and Chai Spice
- Black Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Crunchy Pecan Cookies
- Pistachio Lace Cookies
Try Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
Let me know how it went!
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St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Cookies
- 1½ cups unsalted butter
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- Royal Icing Recipe Also Below
- Green gel paste food coloring
- Crystal sanding sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and blend together. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour until completely incorporated. Wrap and chill dough about 30 minutes.
- Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut heart shapes with a 1- to 1½-inch heart cookie cutters. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly golden around edges. Cool completely.
- Ice cookies with a thin icing tinted green and sprinkle with white crystal sanding sugar. Arrange cookies to form shamrock shapes, then paint icing stems on serving platter with a small brush.
Royal IcingMake icing by mixing together 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 4 tablespoons meringue powder and ⅓ cup water. Mix until icing is the consistency of cold honey. Cover or use immediately.
- And for the stems! A small brush of icing on the plate will make the cute shamrock stems. And for the lucky ones, a four-leaf clover instead of three!
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About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Recipe by Tara Teaspoon. Photographer: Peter Ardito. Originally published in LHJ 3/10.
Mary Bench says
So cute! Love this idea!
Brittany Smart says
Perfect treat for St Patrick's day!