Simple shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate and topped with sprinkles. This shortbread recipe is a copycat of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Stars Cookies and perfect for the holidays or any time you need an easy cookie recipe!
Copycat Trader Joe’s Star Cookies
I have a real thing for shortbread cookies lately. I’ve recently made: Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies, Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars, and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. It’s so easy and I really like the mild flavor, especially paired with chocolate.
If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you’ve probably seen these dark chocolate stars on their shelves.
They’re my favorite Trader Joe’s cookies, probably even my favorite store bought cookie period, but you usually only see them around the holidays (along with the mint variation – not my favorite).
So, I needed to make my own copycat shortbread cookie recipe so I can eat them year-round.
The older I get, the more I appreciate shortbread cookies. They have very minimal ingredients, they’re easy to roll out, they keep their shape, and they’re light & buttery.
The shortbread recipe only has 4 ingredients and rolls out beautifully after you let it chill.
Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Stars
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Butter – I like to use salted. If you’re using unsalted, add a pinch of salt.
- Powdered Sugar – Also called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. You’ll need it both for the dough and to use while rolling the cookies out.
- Vanilla Extract – I know it’s pricey, but try to use a good quality vanilla extract and not imitation. I like to buy it in bulk from Sam’s Club or Costco.
- Flour – All purpose white flour.
How to make shortbread
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar with a hand mixer (or in your stand mixer). Add in the vanilla and mix. Slowly add in the flour and mix until just combined.
Next, form the dough into a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap, and then let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While it’s chilling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Get your rolling pin and cookie cutters ready. Also, a shallow dish of additional powdered sugar for rolling/dusting will be helpful.
Then, prep a large clean area with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge, cut it in half, and place half back in the fridge.
Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick and use your cookie cutters to cut shapes. Cut all your can fit then re-roll and start over. I got about 22 mini cookies out of each half of dough, so 44 cookies total.
Place each cookie on your prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, until just golden around the edges. Remove when done and let cool on a cooling rack.
While they’re baking, to a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat as needed until smooth and evenly melted.
Dip each cooled cookie into the melted chocolate and then set on a wire cooling rack to let the excess chocolate drip off. Sprinkle with nonpareils and let set.
What is the difference between a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie?
Sugar cookies have many ingredients, shortbread cookies only have four. Sugar cookies are sweeter, shortbread has a mild, buttery flavor. Both are easy to cutout and decorate.
Do you use salted butter for shortbread?
Yes, I use salted butter in shortbread. If you have unsalted, add a bit of salt to your dough as you’re mixing it.
Should you chill shortbread before baking?
Yes, you should chill your shortbread dough before rolling it out and baking it. Because of the high butter content, you want it to firm up before working with it.
How do you know when shortbread cookies are done?
Shortbread cookies are done when they start to turn a light golden brown around the edges. Dark brown or black means you burned them and if they’re still white, they haven’t baked long enough.
How many cookies does this recipe make?
It will depend on the size of your cookie cutters. I used mini star cutters and it made about 44 cookies.
Equipment you’ll need
- Mixing Bowls – I love the grippy bottoms.
- Hand Mixer – I use my hand mixer way more than my stand mixer.
- Rolling Pin – I need a new one. Nothing fancy, I’ve been known to use a vodka bottle in a pinch.
- Wire Cooling Racks – To cool and to let the excess chocolate drip off.
- Mini Cookie Cutters – I like to use stars. And holiday shapes.
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Originally published January 6, 2015
Odelle Smith (U.K.) says
Better late than never is my motto…
I’m ever so pleased that you did post this delicious recipe, which has got to be good…
It has shortcake covered with thick dark chocolate, which we all love in any shape or form, Christmas or not!
I can assure you that these will be made tomorrow & thoroughly enjoyed by all my family & friends, not to mention myself, as I know that I will have to stop myself from consuming far too many.
I think that perhaps I ought to exercise a little self-control or not as is more likely with me.
Thankfully, I don’t have to watch my weight & do eat good, healthy meals, which is what’s important.
A little of what you fancy does you good & boy these are going to taste good.
Many thanks on some great posts & recipes over the last year, I shall look forward to many more in 2015.
Odelle Smith. (U.K.)
Melissa Williams says
Thank you for the sweet comment! I hope you like them =)
Oh my goodness, these look so yummy! I can only image how good they taste. Will be pinning these for later 🙂
Other option than coconut oil
Melissa Williams says
You can thin the chocolate with shortening or vegetable oil.
Can you make the dough ahead and freeze?
Melissa Williams says