Shortbread Cookies with Blueberry Sparkling Sugar

Store-bought decorative sugars just add color and sweetness to baked goods. But when you make your own, like the blueberry sugar here, you add flavor and antioxidants as well.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 35 mins
36 cookies


Blueberry Sparkling Sugar

  • cup sparkling white crystal decorating sugar or sanding sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freeze-dried blueberry powder (see Tip)

  • ½ teaspoon water


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup white whole-wheat flour

  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil or canola oil

  • cup granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1-2 tablespoons water, as needed


  1. To prepare sparkling sugar: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk decorating (or sanding) sugar and blueberry powder in a medium bowl. Add water and stir until the sugar is evenly coated. Spread into an even layer on the prepared pan. Place in the oven and turn off the heat. Let the sugar dry for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. (If using right away, the sugar doesn't have to be completely dry.) If there are clumps, lay a sheet of parchment on top of the sugar and use a rolling pin to crush.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare cookies: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients on low speed until evenly incorporated. If the dough does not come together, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it holds together.

  4. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and shape into a rough square. Cover with another sheet of parchment and roll out into a 12-inch square. Check the underside and roll out any wrinkles. Place the dough, with the parchment, on a large cutting board and refrigerate.

  5. When the sugar is done, increase oven temperature to 325 degrees . Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Peel the top sheet of parchment off the dough and set aside. With a large knife, carefully trim the dough to form an even square; discard trimmings. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the blueberry sparkling sugar. Replace the parchment over the sugar and press down to embed the sugar in the dough. Discard the top sheet and cut the dough into 36 squares. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared pan, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.

  7. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees . Continue baking until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes more. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


To make ahead: Store sparkling sugar (Steps 1-2) airtight at room temperature for up to 1 month. Store cookies airtight for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Equipment: Parchment paper

Tip: Freeze-Dried Fruit for Food Coloring

Freeze-dried fruits have all their water removed in a heat-free, vacuum process that also protects colors, keeps flavors fresh and fruity and creates a crumbly texture (unlike the leathery, traditionally dried ones). Ground into powder, they're ideal for coloring.

Where to Buy: Both freeze-dried fruit and pre-ground powders are readily available. Look for them at the supermarket with other dried fruit or online at

To Prepare Them: Grind freeze-dried fruits in a food processor until they become a fine powder. (If you find dried fruits already powdered, there's no need to grind them.)

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

67 Calories
3g Fat
10g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 36
Serving Size 1 cookie
Calories 67
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 4g
Added Sugars 4g 8%
Protein 1g 2%
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Vitamin A 79IU 2%
Folate 10mcg 3%
Sodium 20mg 1%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 1mg 3%
Magnesium 1mg 0%
Potassium 9mg 0%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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