You Don’t Have to Be Irish to Enjoy These Lemon-Glazed Celtic Knot Cookies

Every once in awhile, I come up with a baking idea that sounds quite brilliant in my head. Then, overcome with excitement, I blurt it out to my children. They’re usually happy to have a baking session with me, so most of the time, they agree to participate. Unfortunately, not all of my “brilliant” ideas are really all that easy to do.

This is exactly what happened when I told them about this recipe for Irish Celtic Knot Cookies. I was feeling a bit bored and wanted to make a fun recipe for Saint Patrick’s Day. We were having company over and I thought these would be fun (and tasty too). But after I told them that we were going to make them, I realized that I wasn’t even sure if we could pull it off.

First, roll your dough into a frown (the only frown these cookies—in any state—will ever encounter).

You see, I hadn’t really thought about the type of cookie dough that we would use. And, now I was stuck trying to figure out what would continue to hold its shape once we put it in the oven. This caused me quite a bit of momentary panic because I didn’t want to let them down—but I love a challenge and was determined to see this idea through (even if it all melted together in the oven).

Next, bring the right side up.

Since I have some pretty fantastic bakers in my life, I put the cookie dough question out to my friends. I received many different suggestions about what to use including sugar cookie dough, bread dough, pretzel dough, gingerbread dough, and shortbread dough.

Finally, bring the left side up. Pinch the ends of all three loops and voilà: a basic Celtic trinity knot.

After mulling over these ideas for a while, I decided to go with a chilled shortbread dough. Although shortbread isn’t my favorite, I do like its simplicity and I had a good feeling that it would hold its shape in the oven. As luck would have it, I was right. The key was, first, to keep the dough completely chilled and, then, to roll out the shapes quickly. I worked in batches with the kids and they came out better than expected.

Since I find shortbread to be a bit bland, I added some bright, lemon flavor to our dough. The kids also glazed half of the batch with a lemon glaze.

Lemon Celtic Knot Cookies


  • 2 cups of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest. Mix well.
  3. Add flour, in one cup increments, and blend until just incorporated.
  4. Chill shortbread dough for at least one hour.
  5. Pinch off about 3-4 tablespoons of dough and roll it into a long snake. Mine was about 22 inches–yes, my friends, I measured it out for you!
  6. Lay your snake on the table and bend it downwards into a frown or upside down U. Then, bring the right side up. Next, bring the left side up. Pinch the ends of all three loops into points. You now have a basic Celtic trinity knot.
  7. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes at 350 degrees, or until bottoms are just starting to brown. Do not overbake!

Lemon Glaze


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Sift powdered sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice by the tablespoon and mix well.
  3. Apply glaze to cooled cookies and allow glaze to set.