Classic Shortbread

Time to break out your favorite Yuletide cookie molds. Thanks to this dough’s wet nature and soft crumb, it holds shape and design better than any other biscuit on the block. Our Classic Shortbread is crumbly, buttery bliss. You’ll never go back to store-bought again. For more recipes with shortbread, find our 2018 November/December issue!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Classic Shortbread
Makes 9
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract*
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • 1½ cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth, about 1 minute. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, beating until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, and shape into a 6-inch square. Wrap in parchment, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  2. Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C).
  4. Break dough into small pieces, and begin pressing pieces into bottom of an 8-inch square shortbread baking pan*. (The dough should become very soft as you work with it. This is important because it helps when pressing the dough into the small crevices.) Press remaining dough into an even layer in pan; prick dough all over with a fork.
  5. Bake until dough looks dry but edges have not yet begun to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert pan onto a cutting board. Hit pan with the palm of your hand until shortbread releases. Using a sharp knife, immediately slice into squares following imprinted lines. Let cool completely. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
*We used Heilala Vanilla Extract and Nordic Ware’s Snowflake Shortbread Baking Pan.

Note: Because of how soft this dough is, it works best when baked in a cookie mold rather than using cookie stamps.


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  1. Shortbread cookies, are not only one of my favorite kinds of cookies,but easy to bake, as well, especially for the holidays.Thanx for the idea

    • Hi Cokby,

      Wonderful! This pan is hard to find right now, and it has been quite coveted. We are glad that you have one! Happy baking 🙂

    • Hello,

      Thank you so much for your question! If you’re substituting another pan, we recommend staying as close to original pan size as possible. In this case, you would want to use an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan. However, we haven’t tested this recipe in any pan alternatives, so your cook time might vary slightly. Pay attention to doneness qualifiers, and pull the shortbread when the dough looks dry but the edges have not yet begun to turn golden. You may also want to line your pan with parchment paper to make removing and slicing your shortbread a little easier.

      If you do end up testing this recipe in another pan, please let us know how it goes! Happy baking!


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