New Fallen Snow Shortbread Cookies

A stack of new fallen snow cookies on a white surface.

New Fallen Snow Shortbread Cookies ~ these easy cookies are flavored with vanilla bean and peppermint, then coated with glittery sugar to mimic the look of fresh winter snow. Your Christmas cookie assortment isn’t complete without this sparkling sugar cookie recipe!

a stack of New Fallen Snow Shortbread Cookies

If you’re a Christmas cookie purist, you’ll love these classic vanilla sugar cookies.

Sometimes holiday cookies can get a bit…gaudy. But everybody can appreciate the understated beauty of new fallen snow ๐Ÿ™‚ These sparkly cut out Christmas cookies are easy to make ~ just expect to get sugar everywhere (that’s half the fun!)

Cutting out shortbread cookies

This dough is based on my tried-and-true shortbread recipe

I’ve adapted it countless times on the blog ~ my feeling is, when you’ve got a good thing going, repeat, and repeat often!! This time I’ve flavored it simply with with vanilla bean. The glaze is hit with a shot of cool, frosty peppermint extract. The combination of vanilla bean and peppermint is a little unusual, and really lovely. The vanilla tones down the peppermint, and the peppermint brightens up the vanilla ๐Ÿ™‚

New Fallen Snow Shortbread Cookies on a cooling rack

The key to the look of these cookies is definitely the sparkling sugar, which you can buy online.

Sparkling sugar is unlike any other sugar. I’ve been using it a lot lately, and love it for adding a little bit of extra glitz to a recipe. The extra sweet crunch is fabulous, too!

sparkling sugar

What is sparkling sugar?

  • sparkling sugar, aka extra coarse or decorating sugar, is a coarse grained white sugar, specially made to decorate baked treats because it doesn’t disappear or melt during baking. Use it when you want some serious glitter on your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
  • I think sparkling sugar is the perfect garnish for cookies because it gives a great look without being uncomfortably coarse to eat.

You can also look for another large-grained sugar, but steer clear of natural or raw sugars which have more of a brown/golden tone ~ nobody likes brown snow ๐Ÿ˜‰  I think the combination of both the regular granulated sugar and the larger grained sugar also helps achieve the “new fallen snow” look, here.

Iced and decorated sugar cookies

Tip: wait until your glaze is partially dried on these cookies before adding the sugar, otherwise the sugar can sink right into the glaze.

I recommend letting them sit a couple minutes (the exact time will depend on how thick your glaze is). You ideally want the glaze to still be a bit sticky, but not liquid-y at all. That way the sugar should stick, but stay on top of the glaze and keep its sparkle!

If you think you waited too long and your glaze is a bit too hard, try gently patting the sugar into the glaze, it should still work.

sparkly iced sugar cookies

The soft buttery shortbread cookies topped with the cool, fresh peppermint glaze and crunchy sugar makes for a delicious cookie with a lot of flavor and texture. They’re perfect for the cookie purists on your list.

To freeze these sugar cookies

As with many cookies, you can freeze these baked or unbaked, glazed or unglazed. Lay them out in single file on a baking sheet to freeze solid before transferring to a container.


New Fallen Snow Cookies on a plate

Other pretty holiday cookies for your cookie swap or collection ~

A stack of new fallen snow cookies on a white surface.
4.80 from 15 votes

New Fallen Snow Cookies

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Yield 24 cookies
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 sticks (1 cup), unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • milk to thin

For decorating

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sparkling sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand, cream together the butter and sugar until fully mixed.
  • Add the flour, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and mix until the dough comes together. It may be quite soft.
  • Place the dough in a covered bowl or a plastic ziplock bag and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until its about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the cookies using a round biscuit or cookie cutter. I used both a 2 inch and a 2 1/2 inch round cutter.
  • Place the cookies on an unlined baking sheet, and bake 7-10 minutes. They will still be very pale and soft, but should firm up as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool completely before glazing.
  • To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar with a little milk or cream until it's smooth. Add the peppermint extract and whisk together. I found I liked 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract in my glaze, but if you're worried about it being too strong, start with 1/4 tsp and taste it to see what you think.
  • Carefully dip each cooled cookie in the glaze (I like to transfer the glaze to a shallow bowl here). Allow the excess to drip off and place the cookies on a cooling rack or a tray to dry. If you are having a hard time lifting the cookies out of the glaze without breaking them, try thinning the glaze a bit with more milk.
  • Allow the glaze to mostly dry before coating in the sugars. If it is too wet, the sugar will just sink right in. If you think you waited too long and the glaze is too set, try very gently patting the sugar on top, it should stick. If you catch it right in between, you should be able to sprinkle the sugar on top and have it coat the cookie nicely. For me, this was about 5-7 minutes of waiting before sprinkling with sugar.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

New Fallen Snow Shortbread Cookies pin


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2020 at 6:52 am

    5 stars
    These were INCREDIBLE! I upped the peppermint extract a little because I love mint, and I used a blue sparkling sugar for an extra wintery effect. They were the most popular cookie I made this year – they are delicate, buttery, and even with the decorating sugar not too sweet. Loved the crunch from the decorating sugar to compliment the crumbly cookie. I’m going to make these every year!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Hi Sue, I’m so pumped to make this for Christmas! Do you think I can make the dough a couple of days in advance and keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to bake?

    • Reply
      December 21, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Yes, that’s no problem, keep it well wrapped.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

    5 stars
    These are our new favorite Christmas cookie! They are amazing. I added 1/2 tsp of almond extract to the dough and substituted almond extract for peppermint extract in the glaze.

    These were such a hit, I want to make more. If I want to make a double batch, do I just double the recipe? Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2019 at 6:54 am

      I’m so glad you loved these Judith, and sure, go ahead and double the recipe. I love the idea of adding the dose of almond, yum!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2019 at 10:59 am

    5 stars
    So pretty! I don’t know quite what it was, but these beautiful cookies have really put me in the Christmas mood more than anything else so far, so thank you for that? Now I need some of that magical sparkling sugar to make these beauties.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2019 at 8:38 am

    5 stars
    These look so magical! My kids would love them! I like the touch of peppermint in the glaze!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2019 at 8:20 am

    5 stars
    These cookies look so good! I love how your photos capture the sugar on top!

  • Reply
    Pam Greer
    December 5, 2019 at 8:01 am

    5 stars
    These are the best shortbread cookies!! Thanks so much on the info on sparkling sugar – it’s made all the difference!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2019 at 8:14 am

      5 stars
      These are on my list..they look beautiful, and sound delish..I love sugar cookies..I might glaze them and use Christmas sprinkles!!?

      • Reply
        December 5, 2019 at 8:41 am

        You could definitely do that!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2019 at 8:42 am

      I’m obsessed with that sugar this year.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2019 at 7:57 am

    What a delicious Christmas cookie. I am definitely trying these.

  • Reply
    Haley D. Williams
    December 5, 2019 at 7:43 am

    5 stars
    The peppermint glaze is my favorite part!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2019 at 8:42 am

      What’s interesting is the peppermint/vanilla combo, it’s so delicious.

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