May 27, 2024

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Shortbread Cookies – Once Upon a Chef

6 min read
Shortbread Cookies - Once Upon a Chef

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The rich, buttery goodness of shortbread cookies is hard to beat.

Buttery, crisp, and just sweet enough, shortbread is a classic cookie beloved for its crumbly texture and rich flavor. It is so named because the dough is made with a large amount of butter, which gives the cookies a “short” or crumbly texture. (In the old days, “short” meant crumbly, and the related word “shortening” refers to the fat used to make crumbly pastry.) Originally from Scotland, shortbread is often baked in rounds that resemble the sun and then cut into wedges, but it can also be baked in a square pan and cut into rectangular “fingers.” These cookies are traditionally served on the winter solstice, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Once cut, shortbread cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to a month, making them a wonderful treat to bake and give away during the holiday season (or anytime you’re feeling generous, à la Ted Lasso).

What you’ll need to make Shortbread Cookies

ingredients for shortbread cookies The formula for making basic shortbread cookies is: 1 stick of butter to 1 cup of flour, with sugar and salt to taste. This recipe, adapted from King Arthur Flour, is a bit different in that it calls for confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated sugar, which gives the cookies a melt-in-your-mouth texture, as well as both almond and vanilla extracts for flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract in mixing bowl Beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

creamy butter and sugar mixture for shortbread cookiesAdd the flour.

adding the flour to the butter mixture Beat on low speed until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass.

shortbread dough in mixing bowlDivide the dough in half (if you have a scale, each half will weigh about 10.5 oz) and place each half in a greased, parchment-lined, 8-inch round cake pan.

shortbread dough in cake pans

Dust your hands with flour and press each half into an even layer in the prepared pans. To smooth the surface, place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and smooth with your hands. Use a fork to prick the dough all over in 1-inch intervals. This allows the steam to escape while the shortbread bakes.

shortbread dough pressed into cake pans and ready to bakeBake the shortbread in a 300°F oven until it’s a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes. Shortbread should be baked low and slow so that it doesn’t take on much color in the oven. It should remain pale on top and turn slightly golden around the edges.

Remove the pans from the oven, and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.

shortbread rounds cooling on rack in pansRun a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the shortbread, and then carefully turn each round out of the pans, using your hand to gently lower the shortbread onto a cutting board.

shortbread round on cutting boardUsing a sharp knife, cut each round into 8 or 10 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm; otherwise, it won’t cut easily and will crumble.)

cutting the shortbread

Let the shortbread cool on the cutting board, and then store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Freeze for longer storage.

How To Freeze Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Shape the dough into 2 disks, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and freeze in a sealable bag. When you’re ready to bake, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator.  To freeze after baking, layer the cookies in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Thaw the cookies at room temperature before serving.

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The rich, buttery goodness of shortbread cookies is hard to beat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease two round 8-in cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pans with parchment rounds, and then spray again.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the flour beat on low speed until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass.
  3. Divide the dough in half (if you have a scale, each half will weigh about 10.5 oz). Dust your hands with flour and press each half into an even layer in the prepared pans, dusting your hands with more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. To smooth the surface, place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and smooth with your hands. Use a fork to prick the dough all over in 1-inch intervals to allow steam to escape while the shortbread bakes.
  4. Bake the shortbread until it’s a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.
  5. Remove the pans from the oven, and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the shortbread, and then carefully turn each round out of the pans, using your hand to gently lower the shortbread onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut each round into 8 or 10 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm; otherwise, it won’t cut easily and will crumble.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month, or freeze for longer storage.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The shortbread dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. After mixing, shape the dough into 2 disks, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. Thaw overnight before baking. To freeze the shortbread after baking, store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 wedge
  • Calories: 152
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 60 mg
  • Cholesterol: 24 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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