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Beautiful checkerboard cookies make a great gift!

Checkerboard Cookies

Checkerboard Cookies look hard to make but are so easy! This simple vanilla and chocolate shortbread is supremely buttery and soft, yet perfectly crumbly. The Checkerboard design is always impressive and everyone will wonder how you made them!

  • Yield: 35 cookies 1x


  • 3 sticks (or 1.5 cups) unsalted butter (softened at room temp)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (for an extra burst of flavor, I added 1 tsp of black cocoa, but this is not required)
  • 1 egg white (mixed with 1 tsp water, in a small bowl, set aside)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the butter, extract and sugar until creamy using a hand mixer.
  2. Add the flour and with the mixer on low, mix until the dough moistens and forms large crumbles. This will take about 2 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into two bowls. To one bowl, add the cocoa powder.
  4. Using the hand mixer on low speed, incorporate the cocoa until it's marbled through. When it's marbled, switch over to mixing by hand until the cocoa is fully incorporated.
  5. On a rolling surface, roll each of the doughs out to 1/4" thick. Try to get both layers to roll out to the same shape as you'll be stacking them on top of each other.
  6. Brush egg white on top of the vanilla dough and stack on the chocolate dough. Press gently. Trim off the edges to make a tidy rectangle.
    How to make checkerboard cookies
  7. Cut the rectangle of dough in half, brush one top with egg and stack the half on top of the other. The dough colors should be alternating. At this point, you'll have 4 layers of dough stacked.
  8. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes.
  9. Slice the dough into at least 8 long strips.
  10. Lay one strip down so it's flat and brush with the egg white.
    How to make checkerboard cookies
  11. Stack another strip on top, making sure that the colors are alternating.
  12. Brush with egg white again. Stack with another layer, alternating colors.
  13. One more time, brush with egg white and stack with the 4th and final layer, alternating colors. Press the log together on all sides to ensure a tight fit.
  14. Repeat with the remaining strips.
    How to make checkerboard cookies
  15. Freeze for 15-30 minutes. The more firm they are, the less of a chance the squares will get smushed as you slice them into cookies.
  16. At this point, preheat the oven to 325° and prepare two baking sheets with parchment.
  17. Slice the cookies into 3/8" pieces.
  18. Place on the baking sheets, space the cookies at least 1" apart.
  19. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges turn ever so slightly golden brown. Mine took 18 minutes.
  20. Allow to fully cool on the tray.


Recipe by

Once you get to step 14, you can actually roll up your dough in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for a month for QUICK and EASY slice and bake cookies!

Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Keywords: Checkerboard Cookies