The Christmas cookie tray isn’t complete without a Classic Scottish Shortbread cookie.
A simple and even “humble” biscuit can be the purest form of classic sweetness. Classic Scottish Shortbread is a staple in our home during the holidays. It’s always on the top of my teenage son’s Christmas cookie wish list.
Once considered a festive treat at Christmas, the Scots now love their shortbread year round. “The first shortbread recipe appeared in a Scottish cookbook dated 1736; early formulas called for yeast, but by 1850 most were utilizing only butter, flour, and sugar, combined in a ratio bakers still use.”
Mildly sweet, melt-in-your-mouth flaky, easy to make, improves as it ages — a welcome accompaniment to any cookie tray, but for me, it’s absolutely perfect with a cup of tea.
If you love shortbread as much as we do… you’re in good company. Queen Victoria also loved shortbread and is said to have preferred it seasoned with salt.
Classic Scottish Shortbread
- 1 1/3 cup butter (2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons), softened
- 1 cup sugar (superfine is best but granulated works too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- There are several ways to make this Scottish Shortbread recipe. The dough fits easily into a 13" x 9" baking pan which I score before baking. It's also perfect for shortbread molds, which I often make in a snowflake mold. I also love to shape the shortbread into petticoat tails, which are rounded discs with crimped or lined edges. But any way you shape them, they are a treat everyone will love.
- To make the dough: Preheat the oven to 275°F and spray your baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper, which is my preferred method.
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer until it is light and fluffy -- about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue to cream until the sugar is completely incorporated. Add salt and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add the flour to the butter mixture and the dough comes together and is just combined. Press dough into prepared pan, mold, or shape on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- 9x13-inch Pan: If you are using a 9x13-inch pan, score the dough lengthwise into 9 strips and then cut crosswise into 36, 3-inch strips. Use the tins of a fork to create a perforated pattern. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if desired.
- Round Petticoat Trails on a Sheet Pan: If you're shaping the shortbread into discs, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a circular disc, smooth the top and round the edges. And then either crimp the edges with your fingers or score them with a sharp knife.
- Bake: Bake shortbread in a 275° oven for 60 - 75 minutes or until evenly pale golden. Cool completely. Use a serrated knife to cut.
Shape the shortbread cookie dough directly on a parchment lined baking sheet so the dough won't need to be moved twice.
Also, handle the dough as little as possible to achieve the flakiest cookies.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g