How cute are these Penguin Cookies? The deliciously buttery shortbread biscuit is filled with a decadent caramel and decorated with a super simple but adorable design. They’re a fun and delicious Christmas bake that everyone will enjoy!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
A fun and festive baking project | Baking is most fun at this time of year, and these cookies are a great activity for getting the whole family involved. Shortbread biscuit dough is also perfect for little hands to help with as it will require some kneading and mixing and they’ll feel really involved in the process and be super proud of their bakes at the end.
A showstopping party snack | Nothing says Christmas like an adorable biscuit and these are bound to catch the eyes of everyone at your Christmas gathering.
A one bowl recipe that uses basic equipment | A huge bonus of this recipe is that it only requires one bowl to mix the cookie dough together. There are also no random pieces of equipment that’ll you’ll need to purchase as all the equipment should already be in your cupboards.
Delicious and full of flavour | Buttery shortbread, sweet caramel and dark chocolate are a divine combination. Together these cookies taste just like a millionaire shortbread which I hope has sold it for you.
HOW TO MAKE THE CARAMEL FOR THESE PENGUIN COOKIES
These Penguin Cookies are made in a few simple stages.
Firstly you’ll need to make the deliciously buttery shortbread biscuits and then you’ll need to make the sweet caramel filling.
Caramel can be tricky but don’t let that put you off trying it as when you get it right, homemade caramel is the BEST.
To make the caramel
Heat the sugar until it turns Amber | Be super careful not to burn the sugar at this stage as it can easily turn. As soon as it’s gone amber take it off the heat.
Stir in the butter | This is when it starts becoming caramel. Let the butter melt off the heat, then return it to the heat to bubble gently before adding in the cream
Slowly add the cream | Go half the cream at a time being careful as the mixture will rise and bubble, then stir it through and add the remaining half.
Finally the fun part; decoration. This is where you can really get the family involved, creating a station where someone fills and sandwiches, someone dips and another added the finishing touches.
It’s one of the tastiest Christmas baking projects!
Can I use shop bought caramel?
Yes of course. Caramel can be tricky so the shortcut for this recipe is buying the shop bought jars. Be careful which you choose though and make sure it’s already quite thick as some of them can come quite runny and more of a drizzle sauce which won’t work for this recipe. I’ve suggested one that works well below in the Shop this Recipe section.
How do I stop the cookies from spreading?
Keeping the dough chilled is the key to make sure the cookies don’t spread or change shape whilst baking in the oven. As you’ll need your butter to be soft when creaming it with the sugar, the first stage is allowing it to firm back up once you’ve bought it together into a dough. However the butter will soften again a little once you’ve rolled it out and cut out the shapes so it should be chilled again for 15 minutes before baking. I usually pop the in the fridge whilst my oven pre-heats.
What makes a good shortbread cookie?
Quality ingredients. Good butter, good sugar, good vanilla and good flour. The perfect shortbread cookie should be crumbly, buttery and sweet.
TOOLS AND KEY INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Electric Hand Whisk
- Rubber Spatula
- Rolling Pin
- 2-inch circle cookie cutter
- Flat Baking Sheet
- Non-Stick Baking Paper
- Shop Bought Caramel
Shop this recipe
OTHER CHRISTMAS RECIPES YOU SHOULD TRY
I would love it if you tagged me @mykitchendrawer on Instagram if you make these Penguin Cookies. It’s the biggest honour to see my recipes come to life in your kitchen and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a message or let’s chat in the comments. Happy baking!
For shortbread cookies
- 170 g unsalted butter softened
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 egg large
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
For the caramel
- 200 g caster sugar
- 90 g salted butter
- 120 ml double cream
- 150 g dark chocolate melted
- 24 edible eyes
- 12 orange smarties or chocolate equivalent
For shortbread cookies
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
- Sift together the flour and salt, and add them to creamed butter mixing until the dough is smooth and comes together in a ball.
- Wrap the cookie dough in cling film and refrigerate for about 1 hour until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line two flat baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
- When the dough has chilled flour a work surface and knead it a little to soften slightly.
- Roll out the dough to about 3 mm thick then cut out 24 circles using a round cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter, re-rolling the dough until you have all the cookies you need. If you have extra dough make extra cookies 🙂
- Place the cookies onto the lined baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart and pop back into the fridge for 15 minutes so the butter can firm up a little more again.
- Bake at 180ºC for about 10 minutes then allow to cool on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
For the caramel
- Heat the sugar in a pan over a medium heat, stirring constantly until its fully melted and turned amber.
- Stir in the butter then remove from the heat and whisk it in until fully combined. Return it to the heat and leave to cook for 30 seconds without stirring.
- Slowly add half the cream, being careful as the mixture will rise and bubble, then stir it through and add the remaining half. Leave to boil for 1 minute then pour into a heat safe container and leave it to thicken. Once cool put it in the fridge to thicken.
- Spoon the thickened caramel onto the centre of the 12 of the 24 shortbread cookies, then place the other cookies on top to make a cookie sandwich.
- Put the biscuits into the freezer for a few minutes for the caramel to harden some more whilst you melt the dark chocolate.
- When the biscuits have chilled, dip them into the melted dark chocolate at an angle on one side, then rotate it and dip in the other half, leaving a small triangle of the cookie uncovered. Look at the images above for reference.
- Place edible eyes and smarties to decorate and then allow the chocolate to firm up fully before serving.