December 11th 2007
archived under: Baked Goods, Dessert, Meatless, Recipes

Shortbread is one of the simplest cookies you can make… the “cleanest” recipes only include three ingredients. Flour, Sugar, and Butter.

I’ve made many different shortbread recipes in my day (haha… my day), but this one is the clearest winner.

The World’s Best Shortbread Recipe


1 cup of REAL butter. No substitutions allowed.

1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed

2+ cups of flour.

Oven = 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Cream the butter and sugar together. I generally use the back of a fork, or my fingertips (not palms, or the butter will get too soft). If my butter is too cold and I don’t have time to wait for it to soften, I use a potato masher and a lot of arm muscle.

Add about 2 cups of flour. Mix well.

Sprinkle your table, wax-paper, or silicone baking mat liberally with flour. Turn your dough onto the floured surface and knead.

Knead, adding flour until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut. Rectangles with fork-pierced patterns are classic, but you can also do triangles or other shapes.

Bake for 20-23 minutes, until they’re done and delicious.

Now, there are so many things you can do to dress up shortbread. In the making-dough stage, you can add a bit of vanilla, almond, or lemon extract.

In the cookie-forming stage, you could choose to wrap Andes mints with the dough…

Or you could wait until after they’re baked to dress them up.

These cookies were just balls that I flattened and baked. After baking, I sandwiched an Andes mint between two cookies while they were still warm. As the mint melted, I twisted the cookies slightly to evenly-ish disperse the chocolaty mint goodness.

Or the simple route…

I made my mother some shortbread cookies for her birthday, and dressed them up another way.

Simply melt some chocolate in the microwave and stir in a tablespoon or so of shortening, so that the chocolate is really smooth. Then, when the cookies are cooled, dip one end in the chocolate and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Lay on a wax paper sheet to harden. Delicious!

Also, it’s fantastic plain.

Do you dress up your shortbread? What do you do?

Si (2 comments)

this always annoys me about recipe’s being posted up: not enough clarification. You say add 2cups of flour. Well, what type? plain, self raising, all purpose, corn flour, rye flour etc, there are 50 different types and you don’t tell us which one.

Si (2 comments)

you also don’t tell us if the butter should be salted or unsalted, if you sprinkle with demerara sugar afterwards or don’t bother. too much talk about decoration, not enough focus on the recipe itself. if you give someone a christmas present you don’t blab on about the wrapping.

Ben H. (1 comments)

I make my shortbreads this way (based off a recipe on joyofbaking.com).

Cream together:
226 gm butter
50 grams sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/8tsp salt

Stir in:
250grams flour
60grams of freshly toasted and ground nut flour (walnut/pecan/macadamia…whatever you want)

Then I roll them into balls, chill then bake them and finally roll them in powdered sugar once cool. To dress them up I like to mash the zest of 1 lemon into the sugar. Or orange zest with caraway seed which is my personal favorite.

Joyful Abode (1044 comments)

stormimay I’m SO glad you liked them! Thank you for sharing your shortbread story with me. :)

Stormimay (20 comments)

I just thought I would let you know we made these for Christmas, wrapped around Andes mints per your suggestion. Yum! We had to be careful not to overbake, but these have pretty much replaced my rice flour shortbread. It isn’t quite as silky, but the difference is minimal, especially compared to the effort. Thank you much!

yayanana (122 comments)

And I, the mother, loved the birthday cookies…and my husband was very taken with them. Joyful really knows her stuff. :-)

Stormimay (20 comments)

I put use my thumb to put a dip in the center of the cookie. I place a maraschino cherry in the dip and pour a bit of chocolate on top. Yum!
Funny you posted this recipe. My husband asked me yesterday to make him shortbread this weekend. I wasn’t looking forward to making a grocery trip just for some rice flour, which I generally use for the silky texture. I think I will just give this recipe a shot instead! Thanks!

Helena (13 comments)

Yum, thanks for sharing! Is this something I could make in the Kitchenaid, or is it better done by hand?

EmmaH (31 comments)

A while back I had a mad urge to bake, and made some lovely shortbread, but I used ground almonds instead of flour. So I guess they weren’t really shortbread…well they were shortbread to me! Anyway, I added some cinnamon in the dough too, and then when they were cooled I coated them in white chocolate.
I was told off by all the dieting ladies when I took them into work, because they were addictive :D

Now I’m feeling the baking urge again…But I’m the one on a diet. Argh!

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