Basic Shortbread With Variations

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

A lovely way to enjoy these great cookies is with French Vanilla coffee. The yield of this recipe will depend on the thickness you roll it to and size that to cut them into so don't take the info for yield and baking time as gospel. Just follow the given instructions and they will be fine. Note* after 2 reviews agree, I have removed the unsalted butter. Please use regular salted butter.


  1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add sugar and continue beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Add flour and salt to mixture and stir until smooth.
  5. Divide dough into two flat disks roughly an inch thick and wrap in plastic.
  6. Chill for an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  8. On a slightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness.
  9. Shape with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets and refrigerate 20 more minutes.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cookies are firm without browning.
  11. Cool on a rack.
  12. Now for the Variations on the Theme:.
  13. White-Chocolate Dipped:.
  14. Roll out dough roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. Cut into rounds and place cookies onto prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate and bake as per above instructions. After cooling, melt 6 ounces of white chocolate in a double boiler. Dip cookies into white chocolate and return to rack. Let chocolate set before handling.
  15. Cranberry Clementine:.
  16. Prepare one batch of basic shortbead dough, omitting vanilla extract. Work 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries and 2 tbs grated clementine zest into dough. Roll out dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Refrigerate and bake as per above instructions.
  17. Pecan Macadamia Bites:.
  18. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans and 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts to dough. Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Flatten each ball between your palms into bite-sized disks about an inch across. Place on prepared cookie sheets, refrigerate and bake as per instructions above. After cooking, dust cookies with icing sugar through a fine wire strainer.
  19. Sugar Stars:.
  20. Roll out dough roughly 1/3 of an inch thick. Cut into stars and place cookies onto prepared baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush tops of cookies with egg white and sprinkle each cookie with coarse white sugar. Refrigerate and bake as per above instructions.
  21. Enjoy!


Most Helpful

These are very easy to make, but we thought they were a teensy bit dry.. I wouldn't have minded a little more vanilla. They are good cookies, though. I made plain and sugar stars; I'd like to try the other variations. Thanks for posting!

Chocolatl December 28, 2013

I took Karen's advice and added the extra salt and agree it boosts the rich buttery flavor of the decadent, shortbread. The cookie itself is soft and delicate but manages to remain study due to the thickness. I made a batch and split it into two for two variations. The first was the orange cranberry, as presented here. The second was an improvisation based on ingredients still on hand -- a stripping with melted butterscotch chips and dark chocolate bars. I love when I can get double duty from one dough. Thanks Annacia.

justcallmetoni December 17, 2007

I loved the texture of these cookies, as well as all of the options. I do, however, think they were lacking a little something in flavor. I think this may be fixed by either using *salted* butter or increasing the salt by a bit. I made the cranberry clementine and the sugar stars, plus made some triangles which I plan on dipping in chocolate and then sprinkling with non-pariels. The texture and flavor of these improve as they sit, so I would suggest waiting a few hours before serving/eating or even overnight if you can. Thanks for posting...I will try these again!

Karen=^..^= November 20, 2007

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