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Simple Scottish Shortbread Cookies

This recipe is a must for the holidays, and a perfect slightly sweet treat for the winter months. Traditional shortbread originally hails from Scotland, and this firm, biscuit-like cookie pairs perfectly with both hot tea and whiskey, making it the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. My Mom is an exceptional baker, and my family has gathered around a plate of her shortbread cookies and a hot pot of tea for as long as I can remember, as we discuss life’s mysteries, accomplishments, failures, loves, losses…you name it. Once you have tried this combo, it is hard to turn back. Nothing compares to gathering around the kitchen table and sharing a cookie and conversation. Make a batch of these and keep them on hand for just those occasions.

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Mom’s Simple Shortbread Cookies

These slightly sweet, firm cookies are a perfect pairing with a nice pot of hot tea and conversation with loved ones.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Servings 12 large squares


  • Mixing Bowls
  • hand mixer -or- stand mixer
  • 9×9 baking pan
  • Parchment Paper


  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • extra sugar for topping


  • Heat oven to 375℉
  • Mix all the ingredients together by hand or mixer, to a stiff consistency (the butter shouldn't be too soft, but also not straight from the fridge, especially if you use a mixer). Don't overwork the dough; stop when it just comes together.
  • Roll out into the shape of a pan or tin you want to bake them in. I baked this in an 8 x 8 pan. Trim the edges to the approximate size. 
  • Place it in the pan of your choice (I use a square 9×9). One mistake many people make is rolling the shortbread too thin. Proper shortbread should be quite thick (no less than 3/4" or 2cm if making fingers). Tip: make sure your fingers are wide enough that a fork can prick them. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into fingers. Next, prick the shortbread with a fork, about half way through. 
  • Place in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly brown on edges. Sprinkle with sugar immediately upon removing from the oven. Shortbread shouldn't be darkly colored. Let your shortbread cool on or in the pan or tray before moving to rack to cool completely.