Cute brown butter shortbread bears with a hint of cinnamon! The dough is made in one bowl with a hand whisk/fork and rubber spatula, making this cinnamon shortbread an easy project for beginners. Feel free to cut out any shapes you want, or copy these adorable bear cookies, using my favorite bear cookie cutters.
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About this brown butter shortbread recipe
This recipe is adapted from my double chocolate domo shortbread. The only differences are that I decreased the amount of flour, swapped cocoa powder for cinnamon, browned the butter, and of course, used bear cookie cutters!
These teddy bear cookies are on the softer side of shortbread, which I really enjoyed! They aren’t too sweet, so they balance well with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even different spreads. You can totally sandwich in some jam, chocolate ganache, or caramel spread between two cookies. Since I had a LOT of leftover Nutella from a previous project, I sandwiched a few cookies using it!
These shortbread cut out cookies are super versatile, so you can cut out any shapes you want and make it for any party/holiday. They’re super easy and will surely impress your loved ones!
Can I make vegan shortbread?
Yes, you can!
Instead of regular butter, you can swap in high quality vegan butter made for baking. Make sure to use a good brand—some brands are very high in water content and melt at lower temperatures, yielding very flat cookies. I recommend brands like Miyokos and Country Crock.
You can also omit the egg. First, follow the recipe up until you add the flour and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients in. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a tablespoon of alternative milk at a time (2-4 tbsp total), until the dough comes together. The finished dough should be thick, but scoopable.
Can I make this gluten-free?
Yes! I recommend using a high quality 1:1 gluten-free flour, like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill.
Where can I buy the bear cookie cutters?
I bought my bear cookie set from Amazon!
Tips for baking and decorating
Properly measure the flour
I always like to measure my ingredients with a kitchen scale for consistent, accurate results. But if you’re measuring with cups, make sure you follow this tip: gently spoon in the flour into the cup until it’s full, then scrape the excess off using the back of a knife or offset spatula.
If you scoop the cup directly into the flour bag or container, the flour may get compacted, and you will be adding in more flour than necessary. On the other hand, if your flour is clumpy, you could be adding in chunks of flour into the cup with gaps in between them, possibly adding less flour than required. These instances can cause tougher or even really flat cookies, since the proper ratio of dry:wet ingredients isn’t met.
So, for best results, use a scale. If you don’t have one, gently spoon and level the flour into your measuring cup!
Working with the dough
After mixing and chilling the dough, sandwich it between two pieces of parchment paper. This will help with any sticking and eliminate the need to add any flour for dusting.
Roll the dough until it is a little less than half an inch thick, then cut out shapes by using bear cookie cutters.
Space out the shortbread about 2-3 inches apart on a lined baking tray, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set and firm.
Storing the cinnamon brown butter shortbread
Store these cute cinnamon shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week!
Brown Butter Shortbread Bears
- 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (160g)
- 1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick butter/8 tbsp)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1 egg, room temp (or 4 tbsp milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (36g)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup Nutella or jam
Brown the butter:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add in all of the unsalted butter. Continuously stir with a whisk or rubber spatula.After the butter melts, it will begin to foam. Then, the foaming will stop and brown specks will start to form at the bottom of the pan. The color change will be fairly quick, so keep an eye on the butter. Remove the pan from heat once you smell a nutty aroma and the butter becomes golden brown.
- Immediately transfer to a heat-safe bowl. Let cool in fridge until the butter firms back up to a softened stage. This may take about 1-2 hours.
For the cookie dough:
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (can alternatively use hand mixer, whisk, or fork!), mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Scrape bottom of bowl.
- Add in the egg and vanilla. Stir until combined.
- Sift in all of the flour, ground cinnamon, and salt, mixing until no dry spots remain.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will help the dough firm up and will be easier to roll out later.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Now, you will make a "parchment stack". The bottom layer will be a large piece of parchment paper, the cookie dough in the middle, then parchment paper on top. This will make rolling out the dough much easier + mess free.Lay large piece of parchment paper down on work surface. Plop on all of the cookie dough, then lay another piece of parchment on top of it. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large rectangle, until dough reaches desired thickness. I rolled my dough out to a little under half an inch thick.
- This step will help loosen the shortbread from the parchment paper layers. So when you cut out dough pieces, the dough doesn't stick to the paper and is easier to transfer to your lined baking tray.Peel off top parchment paper, then lightly stick it back on. Flip the entire parchment-shortbread-parchment stack over so you can peel off the bottom parchment paper.
- Use bear cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. If dough is getting too soft, pop it back in the fridge or even the freezer for a few minutes.Knead together any dough scraps, roll out, and cut out more bear cookies.
- Transfer cookies to baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart. The cookies will not spread much while baking.
- Mix cinnamon sugar ingredients in small bowl, then lightly sprinkle on top of each cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should have slightly firm edges and look set (no wet/underbaked spots in dough).
- Let cool on pan for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
- Use a piping bag, spoons, or knife to spread on Nutella or jam on each bottom cookie.
- Add a matching cookie on top.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.