Brown Bag

Shortbread Cookies

It starts with Cookie Molds

At Brown Bag Cookie, they have been asked over and over where the name “Brown Bag Cookie Art” came from. Actually, it evolved out of their philosophy that the small, everyday things in life should be as wonderful as possible. What could be more ordinary than brown paper bags? What sweet treat is more common than cookies?

Brown Bag Cookie Art and Brown Bag Designs are all about playing with cookies. It’s about having fun making, eating and sharing surprisingly un-ordinary treats.

They feel that since cookies are so much a part of our everyday lives, they should be wonderful, not merely tasty. With their molds, you can make cookies to delight the eye, gladden the heart and tickle the funny-bone.

The designs for the shortbread pans were inspired by American Butter Molds.


  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup flour (unsifted)


  1. Preheat oven to 325° Place rack at top third of the oven.

  2. Using the back of a large spoon, cream the butter until it is light. Cream in the powered sugar, then the vanilla. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on an unfloured board until nice and smooth. Let chill 30 min.

  3. Spray the shortbread pan very lightly with a non-stick vegetable oil spray. (I prefer to brush it with vegetable oil). Pat dry with a paper towel. Then lightly flour. (reflour but not reoil after each cookie)

  4. Put the ball of dough in the middle of the pan, and working out from the center, firmly press the dough into the pan. Be sure to level the back of the cookie.

  5. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan for about 30-35 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. Be sure that the middle is thoroughly cooked and doesn’t look slightly opaque or the shortbread might stick in the pan.

  6. Let the shortbread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wood cutting board. If the shortbread does not come right out, hold the pan upside down over the cutting board and gently tap one edge of the pan against the board. This should loosen the shortbread and it should drop out.

  7. Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while it is still warm.

  8. Let the pan cool before washing it in the sink or dishwasher.


For Lemon Shortbread, use 1/2 cup powdered sugar instead of 1/3 c. and add 2 tsp. lemon peel.

Helpful Hints For Molding Cookies

Mix the dough by hand and avoid overmixing.

Using a pastry brush and just a tiny bit of cooking oil lightly oil the mold. Be sure to oil the mold very lightly. I even take a paper towel and wipe out as much of the oil as I can before I flour the mold and tap it to remove the excess. All you want is a thin film of oil. Remember, it is the flour that is acting as the separator, not the oil. If you have too much oil on the mold, it will act as glue, and your dough will definitely stick.

If your dough does stick you have used too much oil, clean it out of the mold. Use a dry, stiff brush to scrub it all out, then re-flour your mold, but don’t re-oil it first. The oil from the shortening in the dough will leave enough oil on the mold to hold a film of flour. You will re-flour your mold before each cookie, but you will not re-oil it during a baking session.

A number of the Brown Bag cookie molds produce several designs each time you un-mold a single, large cookie. We call these Cut-Apart Molds. You can either turn out and bake the large cookie, or you can cut the segments apart before baking. We suggest doing this. Un-mold the dough onto a baking sheet as usual and then carefully slice between the segments with a sharp kitchen knife. Slide the smaller cookies apart to bake. This way, each smaller cookie develops nice, clean, evenly browned boarders, and you wind up with several medium sized cookies, all with different designs each time you un-mold a large cookie.