Have you ever thought a humble recipe with only 3 ingredients could turn into delicious goodness? If you are short on time, you might always rely on these shortbread cookies for the perfect taste of baked flour and sweetened sugar.
- 1 What is shortbread?
- 2 Why do we call it shortbread?
- 3 Ingredients for Shortbread Cookies
- 4 Shortbread Cookies Variations
- 5 How to make shortbread cookies from scratch?
- 6 Tips for Shortbread
- 7 FAQs about Shortbread Cookies
- 8 More dessert recipes for you
- 9 Shortbread Cookies Recipe
What is shortbread?
Will you be in awe if I say shortbread cookies have started their journey ever since the 12th century in Scotland? Back then, it was known as ‘biscuit bread’ because people mostly sweetened their leftover bread dough and dried it with oven heat for hard, crunchy pieces.
No one could have foreseen how a modest snack would turn fancy with the sole addition of butter and transform from food of scratches to an expensive treat exclusive for grand celebrations such as Christmas or New Year Eve alongside traditional courses like cakes, custard puddings, mince pies.
(Did you know ‘biscuit’ means ‘cooked twice’?)
Originally, shortbread cookies take 3 shapes: round pieces (Shortbread Rounds), rectangular slabs (Fingers), and a segmented large circle (Petticoat Tails).
There is even a National Shortbread Day in the US, scheduled on January 6th. Although we can get some cookies anytime we want, having a whole day for your favorite treat is always nice!
Why do we call it shortbread?
The combination of ‘short’ and ‘bread’ might appear confusing to many people, but experts have got clear explanations for the inquiry.
In baking. ‘short’ isn’t an adjective referring to size or length, but crumbliness. Usually, we would want the gluten in our bread dough to develop bonds and form an elastic texture. Before you question what it is, gluten is a protein from grains, which is capable of linking the ingredients and bind them together.
However, it’s the other way around in shortbread where we would use the richness of butter to hinder gluten bonds and obtain crispiness.
What about the ‘bread’ part? As mentioned in the first section, our cookies started as spare bread dough baked twice. The dryness ensures longer preservation.
Ingredients for Shortbread Cookies
Butter. From the information provided, you can tell the butter plays an important role in the overall process. I would suggest going for the best butter you manage to find; the more flavorful, the better the cookies, and I’m talking about the taste of dairy, not salt and sugar.
Flour. All-purpose, unbleached flour is the best choice in my opinion. I find the flavor more pleasant than the bleached flour, plus I’m free from worries about the chemical process. If you want to add more nutrients to the cookie batch, enriched flour is an outstanding option!
Sugar. You can adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe to your desired sweetness.
Shortbread Cookies Variations
Since the supplies needed for shortbread cookies are borderline simple, you might already be able to tell how versatile this recipe is when it comes to variations.
- Early petticoat tails had caraway seeds, but no one really does it nowadays.
- Chocolate chips is a hot pick in modern shortbread.
- Many store-bought products are available with spices like pumpkin pie or cinnamon.
- Some bakers like to use a mix of flour, rice flour, and cornstarch for the sandiness and flavor of their liking.
- Citrus zest makes your cookies tastier! I like either lemon or orange flavor.
- Try extracts such as almond, coffee, maple, rum, coconut.
- Chop some nuts finely and mix them in.
1. Mix cold butter and granulated sugar at room temperature, adjusting the mixer at low or medium speed.
2. Add the sieved flour and knead the dough to form a stable mixture.
3. Roll the dough and slice with a knife or a cookie cutter to cut the sheet into squares or rectangles. You can mold the batter and bake it before cutting as well, this way is actually the simplest method.
4. Bake the shortbread batch at the right temperature and in the duration as directed.
Tips for Shortbread
- I always recommend using cold butter. With the low temperature from it, you won’t need to chill the dough for hours.
- Mix the ingredients well without overmixing them. Wet dough is bad, but it’s extra bad in shortbread recipes due to the impossibility of a crunchy texture.
- I use a hand-mixer and my hands to knead. A food processor is a great choice, but the warmth of your hands will help the dough come together.
- If you want to double or triple the supplies, bake one sheet at a time and keep the others chilled. Coldness is our best friend since it prevents the batter from spreading. That said, it’s better to put the dough in the fridge before baking.
- Use a fork to prick some patterns on the cookie for a classic style.
FAQs about Shortbread Cookies
Are a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie different?
As the name indicates, sugar cookies are typically sweeter but not richer. The butter in shortbread makes it thicker and denser.
How do you know the shortbread is ready?
The moment the bottoms of the cookies turn brown, the batch is ready to leave the oven. However, you can give them a few more minutes in the heat until the edges become golden brown for more texture.
Can I have dairy-free shortbread?
You might give coconut oil a chance, it makes scrumptious cookies! Of course, the taste won’t be the same, but you can count on it for a vegan alternative.
How to store shortbread cookies?
First of all, give them time to cool, or the heat will accumulate and transform the surrounding air into moisture ruining the crispiness. Keep the shortbread in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks at room temperature and 3 months if frozen.
More dessert recipes for you
- Meringue Cookies
- Perfect Butter Cookies
- Homemade Biscuits Without Oven
- Banana & Chocolate Chips Cupcakes
- Rice Cooker Cake
Let’s watch the videos for those desserts after you have finished the shortbread instruction!Print
Shortbread Cookies Recipe
A treat consisting of the most basic ingredients in baking – flour, butter, and sugar – but it gives such a lovely and satisfying result.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Snacks
- Method: Bakin
- 200g butter (unsalted)
- 100g sugar (granulated)
- 280g flour (all-purpose, unbleached)
- Icing sugar
Step 1: Prepare the dough
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-mixer to blend cold butter and sugar until combined. Remember that we don’t want to inflict high temperature on the dough, thus a medium speed will be enough.
- Sift in the flour and toss the ingredients with a spoon or spatula. You don’t have to overdo this step since we will be kneading the dough by hand on a floured platform. Use your fingertips to rub the mixture and make the components come together.
Step 2: Shaping and baking
- Flatten the dough ball with your rolling pin and keep the thickness at around 5 – 7 millimeters. Use a cookie cutter or a knife to divide the sheet into equal pieces.
- Prod the raw cookies with a fork to create a dotted pattern we usually see in traditional biscuits.
- Bake the shortbread batch at 160oC for 30 minutes and sprinkle with sugar for more flavor.
- You can use salted butter for a stronger flavor in your cookies!
- Try your best to roll the dough evenly so the baking can occur easily and evenly.
- For the shortbread, there is no need for greasing before baking as it reduces the spreading of the dough. The rich content of butter in the mixture will ensure your cookies won’t stick and burn.
- Dip the cookies in milk chocolate or white chocolate instead of the commonly seen brown or black sauce for a brighter look. Add colorful sprinkles for a festive appearance!
- Serving Size: Batch
- Calories: 236kcal
- Sugar: 8.4g
- Sodium: 2mg
- Fat: 13.8g
- Saturated Fat: 8.6g
- Carbohydrates: 26.1g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Protein: 2.6g
- Cholesterol: 36mg
Keywords: shortbread cookies, shortbread
Whether you are looking for a simple snack or a traditional, fancy Christmas treat, this shortbread cookies recipe will be a worthy choice to consider (plus the healthy calories and nutrients’ data)! Last but not least, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel for new recipes every day!