Easy Shortbread Cookies -Two Ways

shortbread biscuits or shortbread cookies on floral plates
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Classic shortbread cookies that do not require chill time and are ready in 30 minutes! It is an egg free cookie recipe made with few basic pantry ingredients – it is the best shortbread recipe for a reason!

These shortbread cookies are also simple and easy to make, and I worked on this dough so that it can be made into two formats: one is a rolled-and cut-out shortbread cookie, and the second is shaped into a rectangular “log” for a slice-and-bake shortbread cookie.

For the rolled and cut-out cookie, I used a lovely scalloped shaped cookie cutter as the gentle scalloped edges really match the softness and tenderness of the shortbread. I imagine using different cookie cutters for each holiday and occassion throughout the year.😊

a stack of shortbread cookies/ biscuits with a blue ribbon on a floral patterned napkin

Shortbread cookies originated from Scotland and is commonly referred to as “shortbread biscuits” in the UK and “shortbread cookies” in North America.

With its signature buttery flavor and tender crumb, shortbread is one of those timeless biscuits that are delicious, elegant yet versatile enough to be used in different occasions.


Why Shortbread Is Called Shortbread?

Have you ever wondered why is it called shortbread? Shortbread is so named because of its crumbly texture (from an old meaning of the word “short”, as opposed to “long”, or stretchy). The short or crumbly texture is a result of the high fat content provided by the butter.

So for this recipe, I highly recommend using a butter that is high in milk fat, preferrably 84%, to achieve that beautiful buttery flavor and delicate crumbly texture. If you don’t have access to this kind of butter, your regular butter should work fine too – It would still come out delicious, but not as buttery and crumbly as the high milk fat ones.


Ingredients & Substitutions

Shop efficiently (treat this as your grocery list) and gather your ingredients at home without running circles in your kitchen. (i.e. One trip to the fridge to get all your dairy needs.)

REFRIGERATED:

  • butter. 120g (½ cup + ½ tablespoon) of unsalted butter. You can also use salted butter but omit the salt in the recipe. I recommend using butter that is at least 82% in butterfat, or sometimes called European butter. It will make your shortbread more buttery and delectable!

  • If you are in the US, butters that are high in butterfat are Organic Valley, Vital Farms, and Vermont Creamery.

The USDA defines butter as having at least 80% fat, while the EU defines butter as having between 82 and 90% butterfat and a maximum of 16% water.

high in milk fat European butter
Butter that has 84% milkfat – a higher fat content creates the best layers and the most prominent flavor.

PANTRY:

  • powdered sugar/ confectioner’s sugar. 60g or ½ cup.
  • pure vanilla extract. You need ½ tsp.
  • salt. 1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
  • all-purpose flour. 170g or 1⅓ cup
  • cornstarch. Also called cornflour – you need 15g (1½ tablespoons)
mise en place - measured ingredients for classic shortbread biscuits

Recommended Tools to Make Shortbread Cookies

recommended tools in making shortbread cookies
  • I (use) and love using this rolling pin (pictured above) as it takes the guesswork out of preparing the required pastry thickness!
  • 2.25-inch scalloped cookie cutter or any cookie cutter of your choice
  • skewer, toothpick if you are making holes in your shortbread

How to Make Classic Shortbread Cookies

It may be intimidating to create a shortbread with buttery, delicate texture – but it’s actually easy! These photos provide visual cues to help guide you in making this recipe.

You can use either a stand-mixer or hand-held electric beaters.

measured ingredients for classic shortbread biscuits/ cookies

STEP 1. Preheat (convention oven, no fan) oven to 320℉ / 160℃ . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Ensure that your butter is at room temperature.

butter and sugar beaten together in a glass mixer bowl with paddle attachment

STEP 2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth, about 2-3 minutes on medium-low speed. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

It’s ready when the creamed mixture is pale in color. You don’t want to beat too much air because that air will cause the surface of the shortbread to puff up and bubble.

sifting the flour mixture over a glass bowl

STEP 3. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt over the butter mixture and beat them together starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-low speed.

shortbread cookie/ shortbread biscuit dough

NOTE: At the beginning of mix, your dough would like it’s too dry and will never come together. Be patient and keep the mixer going on at low speed. As the flour starts to become coated with the moisture of the creamed butter and sugar, the dough will form clumps.

shortbread cookie/ shortbread biscuit dough formed into a flat disc

STEP 4. Use your hands to press together to form a smooth-dish ball. Don’t knead! Simply squeeze it gently together and pressing the crumbly bits at the bottom of the bowl will bring together the dough. Shape it into a rough disk.

rolling the shortbread cookie

STEP 5. If doing a rolled and cut-out shortbread: On a lightly floured surface roll out your dough with a lightly floured rolling pin until 1/4-inch (6mm) thick.  

TIP: Flour your work surface and the rolling pin only (avoid putting flour on the dough itself as this adds even more flour which can dry out the dough. 

cut-out shortbread cookie

STEP 6. Using your chosen cookie cutter and stamp out as many rounds as you can.

I am using a 2.25-inch scalloped cookie cutter and I was able to yield 12 cookies.

TIP: Before using, dip you cookie cutter in flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the inside edge of the cutter.

shaped shortbread cookies on a baking sheet

STEP 7. Place the cookies on a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. If you find that the cut-out dough is sticking to your surface, slide a floured spatula or off-set spatula under the cookie round and gently lift it

shortbread cookies on a baking sheet ready to bake

STEP 8. Bake for 10 mins or until the cookies are firm to touch and they have minimal coloring on them.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the pans, then transfer to a wire rack.

sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of shortbread cookies

STEP 9. OPTIONAL: Coat with granulated sugar once the cookies are cooled. I like this step as it add a bit of texture and sweetness. My kids also said that the cookies look fluffy this way!

shaping the scraps into a rectangular log

STEP 10. For the scraps, you can choose to re-roll them and use the same cookie cutter to make more.

To show you the slice and bake variety, I press the scrap dough together and shape into a rectangular log about 3 ½ cm x 6 cm (1.4″x2.3″), squaring off the edges with a bench scraper.

poking holes in slice and bake shortbread biscuits

STEP 11. With a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into biscuits 1cm (0.4″) thick. Using a skewer or a fork, press holes about halfway down into the dough, and arrange on the trays, leaving a little room for spreading. They don’t spread too much.

Follow steps 8 and 9 for baking.


Baker’s Notes

If your dough is too soft, it will be hard to roll and cut out the cookies. It will stick to your rolling pin and in your work surface.

What to do if the dough is too soft? Cover the dough and put in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes to firm up a bit. Don’t put in the fridge for too long though or your dough would be hard to roll and would tend to crack.

From my experience (because it’s cold here in Canada), I am able to roll the dough right after making it, but if you live in a hot, humid climate then you might need to refrigerate the dough.

Storage. Store shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks though best eaten on the day they are made.


❤️ Tried this recipe and loved it? If you made this recipe or any other recipe on this site, I would love to know! ❤️

Rate the recipe and leave a comment below. Or tag @thebakeologie on Instagram and hashtag it #bakeologie !

Shortbread Cookies – Two Ways

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 20 cookies
Author: trish
Buttery, delectably tender, and not that sweet shortbread cookies ready in 30 mins. A versatile and year-round cookie, from casual coffee break to an elegant tea party!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 120 g (½ cup + ½ tbsp) unsalted butter omit salt if using salted butter
  • 60 g (½ cup) powdered sugar also called icing sugar/ confectioner's sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 170 g (1⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 15 g cornstarch also called cornflour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt omit if using salted butter

Instructions 

  • Preheat (convention oven, no fan) oven to 320℉ / 160℃ . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Ensure that your butter is at room temperature.
  • Beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth, about 2-3 minutes on medium-low speed. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 
    It’s ready when the creamed mixture is pale in color. You don’t want to beat too much air because that air will cause the surface of the shortbread to puff up and bubble.
    120 g (½ cup + ½ tbsp) unsalted butter
    60 g (½ cup) powdered sugar
    ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt over the butter mixture and beat them together starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-low speed.
    At the beginning of mix, your dough would like it’s too dry and will never come together. Be patient and keep the mixer going on at low speed. As the flour starts to become coated with the moisture of the creamed butter and sugar, the dough will form clumps.
    170 g (1⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
    15 g cornstarch
    ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • Use your hands to press together to form a smooth-dish ball. Don’t knead! Simply squeeze it gently together and pressing the crumbly bits at the bottom of the bowl will bring together the dough. Shape it into a rough disk.
  • If doing a rolled and cut-out shortbread: On a lightly floured surface roll out your dough with a lightly floured rolling pin until 1/4-inch (6mm) thick.  
    TIP: Flour your work surface and the rolling pin only (avoid putting flour on the dough itself as this adds even more flour which can dry out the dough. 
  • Using your chosen cookie cutter and stamp out as many rounds as you can. Reroll the scraps and continue stamping until you have used up almost all the dough.
    I am using a 2.25-inch scalloped cookie cutter and I was able to yield 20 cookies.
    TIP: Dip you cookie cutter in flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the inside edge of the cutter.
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. If you find that the cut-out dough is sticking to your surface, slide a floured spatula or off-set spatula under the cookie round and gently lift it.
  • Bake for 10 mins or until the cookies are firm to touch and they have minimal coloring on them.
    Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the pans, then transfer to a wire rack.
  • OPTIONAL: Coat with granulated sugar once the cookies are cooled. I like this step as it add a bit of texture and sweetness. My kids also said that the cookies look fluffy this way!
  • If you're doing the slice and bake shortbread,press the dough together and shape into a rectangular log about 3 ½ cm x 6 cm (1.4″x2.3″), squaring off the edges with a bench scraper.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into biscuits 1cm (0.4″) thick. Using a skewer or a fork, press holes about halfway down into the dough, and arrange on the trays, leaving a little room for spreading. They don’t spread too much.
    Follow steps 8 and 9 for baking.

Notes

Step-by-step photos: My recipe post contains step-by-step photos and tips to guide you in making this recipe >>> https://bakeologie.com/easy-shortbread-cookies
On measuring: All recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but I strongly recommend using a digital scale for a more accurate result. 
To store: The shortbread cookie dough can be made in advance. Wrap very well with plastic wrap and store the dough for up to a week in the fridge. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 7 days.
 
 
Tried this recipe?Mention @theBakeologie or tag #Bakeologie!

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