This really has to be the easiest, most versatile cookie recipe I know. I use this all the time and continue to come up with new variations. This cookie can be rolled into logs and chilled to cut and bake or you can scoop it out and make drop cookies. I even bake them and then crush them up for my cheesecake crust. I’ll list out some of my favorite variations after the recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Plain Simple Shortbread
- 8 ounces butter, salted
- 4 ounces sugar, white
- 10 ounces flour, ap
- Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar all at once and continue to cream until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture is light and smooth.
- Add all the flour and continue to mix until the flour is absorbed into the dough.
- Portion the dough on to a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees, or just until the edges are lightly browned.
- Cool them on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Lemon Shortbread: Add 1 teaspoon lemon zest to butter during creaming.
- Spiced Shortbread: Add the following to the butter during creaming: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Sugared Shortbread: Roll the dough in demerara sugar before placing on the baking sheet, flatten with the bottom of a glass.
- Cut and Bake Shortbread: Form a log out of your dough on freezer paper, rolling tightly to form an even cylinder, twist the ends up tight like a Christmas Cracker and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer depending on how long you’re planning on keeping the dough. Slice dough coins and bake as above. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator before slicing.
- Christmas Shortbread: Flavor with 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and form the dough into logs to chill. Before wrapping in saran, roll the logs in sanding sugar in bright holiday colors.
- Pecan Shortbread: Add 1/2 cup crushed pecans to the dough. Roll the dough into logs to chill, slice and bake as above.
- Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread: Add the zest of one lemon and 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the creamed butter and sugar. Roll the dough into logs to chill, slice and bake as above.
- Thumbprint Cookies: Don’t chill the dough, dropping by tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Dip your thumb into white sugar and make an indention into each cookie. Fill the center with your favorite jam before baking.
- Citrus Shortbread: Add the zest of one lemon, one lime and half an orange to the creamed butter and sugar. Roll the dough into logs to chill, slice and bake as above.
- Tuxedo Shortbread: Roll the dough into logs to chill, slice and bake as above. Once the cookies are completely cool, dip the edge into melted dark chocolate, turn the cookie 1/3 of a turn and dip into white chocolate so that the chocolate layers overlap. Put the cookies back onto the parchment sheets until the coating sets firm.
- Chocolate Shortbread: Add 3 tablespoons of dark cocoa to the creamed butter and sugar. Roll the dough into logs to chill, slice and bake as above.