If you are looking for a wonderfully crunchy, buttery, easy Scottish Shortbread Cookie recipe you have come to the right place! I would say these taste just like Walkers Shortbread, but they are BETTER.
Shortbread Cookies Recipe
People love a short ingredient list. There are whole cooking shows and blogs dedicated to recipes with less than 5 ingredients. The thing is, less is not always ( or even often ) more when it comes to cooking.
New cooks in particular are enamored with a short ingredient list because they think the recipe is somehow easier because you are throwing fewer things in the bowl or pan. Often the opposite is true: the shorter the list, the more the execution of a recipe must be absolutely spot on.
It's like the old kitchen saying that the mark of an amazing cook is the ability to cook a fried egg perfectly. One ingredient. One! But to make the perfect fried egg, all aspects of the process must be mastered or you end up with a dry, rubbery mess.
For this reason, I avoided shortbread for a very long time. Three ingredients. Just three. Surely I would mess it up. Surely there was some trick that wasn't in the directions of the recipes I found. Surely it wasn't as easy as it looked.
I turned to the comments of roughly 20 recipes on the Internet for shortbread to help. They were filled with horror stories! Accusations of tastelessness, bland hockey pucks, sandy cookie bars, and worse were all over the internet, so I closed my laptop, went to the kitchen, and decided to wing it using
the basic formula for classic Scottish shortbread and the standard mixing practice for cookies:
4 : 2 : 1
Flour : Butter : Sugar
Cream butter and sugar, add dry ingredients and bake.
I figured, worst case scenario, I'd have something workable as a topping for a berry crumble or coffee cake if it all went horribly wrong. At best, I'd have a great starting point for tweaking the recipe.
Guess what, instead I got the BEST Scottish Shortbread Cookies ever!
As it turns out, there's not really anything to it other than that. I don't know what the Internet horror stories were all about, because this shortbread recipe really is as easy as the short ingredient list makes it seem.
Do you have to poke holes in shortbread cookies?
Yes! Poking holes in the cookies helps the moisture escape and the heat distribute evenly throughout the cookie. It is key to getting their perfect dense, crumbly texture.
If you like these shortbread cookies, you might also like:
Classic Shortbread Cookies
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 cup room temperature salted butter
- ½ cup white sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter until it begins to turn lighter yellow. Add ½ cup sugar and beat together until well combined.
- Half a cup at a time, add the sifted flour to the creamed butter and sugar.
- After all of the flour is mixed in, the mixture will look like a coarse grain, crumbly sand or breadcrumbs. Do not expect this to form a classic "dough". Put the mixture in an ungreased 8 by 8 pan. ( I used my trusty old square Pyrex dish. )
- Press the mixture down into the pan. I used a large metal spatula place over sections of the pan, and pressed on top of that to make sure I got a more even bar.
- Using a skewer, lightly score (⅛th of an inch deep or so ) the top of the pressed dough to make 16 servings, then poke one row of holes down each scored bar. Make sure you poke straight through the dough and hit the bottom of the pan for each hole.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The bars will most likely be done around the 30 minute mark, but I saw that mine weren't browning yet by then, so I gave them 5 minutes extra. All of the butter makes these a fairly forgiving cookie, so unlike most cookies, don't be scared that 1 minute or 2 difference will ruin them.
- After baking time is up, remove pan from the oven and let cool for 1 hour.
- Cut each bar from the score marks and serve, wrap, or eat!
Kérin Eillis says
Baking my first batch at the moment. Super easy and quick! Going to dip half of one finished cookie in melted Nutella and then freezing them to stiffen the Nutella. Easier than a ganache! Just gently melt Nutella in microwave, dip and freeze for an hour. Yum!
My first try and the smell and taste seem like it's basically there, but for some reason the consistency of the shortbread wasn't there. It's pretty soft still and "doughy". I'm really not sure what I did wrong. Maybe I measured the flour wrong? Not sure. However, I'm very determined to try again after reading all the comments. Thanks for the recipe!
Hmmm perhaps try baking it a little longer next time? This recipe can bake for quite a long time before "overbaking" - so don't be afraid to leave it in until it looks just right!
Sandy Geho says
I was raised eatting short bread. My grandmother use the make it for me all the time. She was from Scotland. You have to sift the singer if it's not already. And you have to use good butter. Not imitation. Unsalted butter. And a pinch of Salt. Literally a pinch. And butter the pan. It will come out perfect.
Here's my great granny's Scottish shortbread recipe,
melts in the mouth-
2 1/2 c. minus 3 Tbsp flour
3/4 c. rice flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 lb. butter
Work with hands, squeezing until dough holds together & can be patted out without much cracking
Cut , prick to pan with fork
( ours were always a bit irregular in size,2-3 inches)
** take care to chill dough during process & before baking
Bake 375'F (yes 375) for 15 min.-open oven door & drop to 300'F-close oven door & turn oven off- bake another 15 to 25 minutes, until barely brown.