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Copycat Trefoil Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Tk Vasoli |

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Craving for shortbread cookies but there is no Girl Scout cookie box in sight? We’ve got you covered. You don’t have to bear another cookie-less day. Just follow this easy shortbread cookie recipe and have a bite of the classic Girl Scout Trefoil.

Trefoil, The Classic Girl Scout Cookie

The word trefoil is derived from the Latin word trifolium which means “three leaf.” Trefoil is a leafy portrayal of the Girl Scout three-folded promise — 1) to serve God and my country 2) to help people at all times, and 3) to live by the Girl Scout Law. And trefoil shortbread cookies are the cookies that represent Girl Scout’s promise in their iconic shape.

Before we get into the making of Trefoil cookies, let us learn a little about the history of Girl Scout cookies. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scout members would bake their own shortbread sugar cookies at home and sell them door-to-door. Little by little, these cookie sales expanded from girls baking in their kitchens at home to the big commercial enterprise we all know and love today.

Originally, there were just three choices: Peanut Butter Sandwich (Do-si-dos), Shortbread (Trefoils) and Chocolate Mints, now called Thin Mints. Today, Girl Scout members produce an even greater variety of fresh shortbread recipes, making the people anticipate the cookie season all the more. Still, the classic Girl Scout cookie Trefoils remains a favorite in the Cookie Lineup.

Trefoil Shortbread Cookies and Wine: The Perfect Pair

It is high time to pair your Girl Scout treats with more than just tea, coffee, milk or ice cream. If you love your fair share of beverages, too, you can actually pair Trefoils with wine. Wines usually have richness and creaminess that blend perfectly with shortbread cookies.

A glass of wine will bring out the sweet, buttery flavors in your made-from-scratch Trefoils cookies. So learn how to bake classic Girl Scout cookies with our easy shortbread cookie recipe and take out that fine wine long hidden in your rack. This perfect pair will definitely fill your late-night cravings. 

Satisfy your mid-afternoon or late-night munchies with these classic Girl Scout cookies. These shortbread biscuits with a hint of vanilla flavoring are made with easy steps. Have a bite of your own shortbread cookies in just a few minutes!

Prep: 10 mins
Chill Time: 1 hr
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 1 hr 25 mins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl attached to a hand beater, cream together butter and sugar for roughly 5 to 7 minutes or until light pale.
  3. Add vanilla extract and continue creaming.
  4. Fold the sifted flour mixture into your creamed butter mixture until evenly incorporated.
  5. Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface and then, divide into 2 pieces and shape into square or round logs, about 1 ½ inches thick.
  6. Wrap each dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  7. When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to slicing.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Cut slices of the cookie logs ⅛ to ¼ inches thick each. Then press with a cookie stamp of your choice.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes and check.
  11. Let them cool before serving. And there, you can now enjoy your own copycat Trefoils with your friends and family!

Recipe Notes

  • When baking, it’s best to bake one sheet at a time to allow even heat circulation around the sheet, ensuring that each cookie will be browned the right amount.
  • If you want your trefoils extra crumbly, wait until the edges become golden brown before removing them from the oven.
  • Store in an airtight container, if not eat them immediately.


  • Sugar: 10g
  • :
  • Calcium: 21mg
  • Calories: 633kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Cholesterol: 139mg
  • Fat: 53g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Potassium: 55mg
  • Protein: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 33g
  • Sodium: 340mg
  • Trans Fat: 2g
  • Vitamin A: 1619IU
Nutrition Disclaimer
Want to share your experience making these copycat Trefoil shortbread cookies or have any tips to perfect the recipe? Join the discussion in the Baking and Desserts forum and let us know your thoughts on these classic Girl Scout inspired treats!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between shortbread cookies and butter cookies?

Butter cookies are very similar to shortbread. The only difference is, the amount of flour and sugar in butter cookies is higher than that of shortbread, and shortbread cookies are usually baked at a lower temperature.

What kind of cookies are trefoils?

Trefoils are traditional shortbread cookies made in the shape of the Girl Scout emblem, trefoil.

How do you know when shortbread is cooked?

The shortbread is done when the color on the bottom changes. But if you want it extra crunchy, wait until the edges turn golden brown.

Bread Dough Recipes


With this simple copycat shortbread recipe, you don’t have to chase down a Girl Scout or wait for the cookie season. This homemade version of copycat Trefoils is just as luscious as the original. And with a hint of vanilla flavoring and a sprinkle of sugar, you will surely enjoy every bite!
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