Classic shortbread cookies

My mother made what she called “Scottish shortbread” She mixed butter, sugar, flour, and a little salt and pressed in into an iron skillet.  She then pricked the shortbread with the tines of a fork making six or eight triangles.  When the shortbread was done and cooled, she broke off the triangular  “cookies”.  It was mostly a winter treat when she took advantage of the fireplace and cooked it “as they did in Scotland.”.  She explained that it was the traditional way of making shortbread.

These CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES begins a section of cookies baked more or less like shortbread, sometimes adding ground nuts and sometimes adding cornstarch to make them lighter.  Notice that with shortbread cookies there is no “creaming” the butter and sugar and then adding the dry ingredients.  Not only is the cookie different, but the method of cookie making also.


  1. 1 cup cold unsalted butter
  2. ½ cup sugar
  3. ½ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper

 Cut the butter into ½”cubes

Combine the butter, sugar, and salt and mix on low-speed  until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth – about 2 minutes.

Add the flour and mix on low-speed until the dough just pulls together – about 3 minutes.

Roll to a ¼”thickness.

cutting shortbread with ruler

Cut with a ruler and place on the baking sheets.

Put on two shelves in the middle of the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes to 1 hr. The cookies should bake very slowly.


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