I know that ‘Scottish shortbread’ sounds like something to serve ladies at high tea — or to quote my favorite British food writer, Nigella Lawson, “the sort of cooking someone else does.” But make it once and you’ll be convinced otherwise. Buttery, crisp, and mildly sweet, shortbread is simple to make with ingredients that are always on hand. Baked in large rounds to resemble the sun and cut into wedges, shortbread is traditionally served in Scotland on winter solstice, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. It’s wonderful with coffee or tea any time of day — and since it’s appealingly plain, kids love it as much as grown-ups.
Since shortbread is made with so few ingredients, there’s not a lot of variation in shortbread recipes. This recipe from King Arthur Flour, however, is unique in that it calls for confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar, which makes the cookies extra tender. It also calls for almond extract in addition to vanilla — I love this flavor combination.
Begin by whisking together the flour and salt, then set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract.
Beat until smooth and creamy.
Add the flour mixture.
Mix on low speed until combined into a stiff dough.
Divide the dough in half and place each half in a greased cake pan.
Dust your fingers with flour and press each dough ball into an even layer.
To smooth the surface, place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and smooth with your fingers.
Use a fork to prick the dough — this allows steam to escape while the shortbread bakes.
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.
Remove the pans from the oven, and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean work surface.
Using a sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. It’s important to do this while the shortbread is still warm, otherwise it will crumble when cut.
Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool.
Serve and enjoy!
My Recipe Videos
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 9-in cake pans with butter. (If you worry about the shortbread sticking in your particular pans, line them with parchment rounds, and then butter the parchment.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until smooth, creamy and well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until you have an evenly mixed, stiff dough.
- Divide the dough in half (if you have a scale, each half will weigh about 10.5 oz), and press each half into an even layer in the prepared pans, dusting your fingers with 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 fingers. Use a fork to prick the dough all over in 1-in intervals to allow steam to escape while the shortbread bakes.
- 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.
- Remove the pans from the oven, and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut each round into 12 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 cool. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Shape the dough into 2 disks, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. When ready to bake, remove the disks from the freezer and place each one in a buttered 9-inch cake pan. When the dough is soft enough to press out and cover the bottom of each pan, proceed with the recipe as directed. To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.
- Serving size: 1 wedge
- Calories: 126
- Fat: 8 g
- Saturated fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 13 g
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Sodium: 50 mg
- Cholesterol: 20 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.