Tis the Season…for Shortbread!


Truth be told, I love shortbread during any season, but this time of the year it’s a bit more nostalgic as it takes me back to being in the kitchen making it with my mom when I was younger.  I try to make this recipe once a year, at least, since reading it in NYT Magazine a couple of years ago.  This is a classic shortbread recipe with many, sweet, savory, citrusy, sugary, or chocolaty options & additions* you can do.  I also sometimes ice or not….depending on what occasion I’m making them for.  This past week, it’s all holiday themed, so I made the basic cookies w v few additions & iced them w a butter frosting.



– 8oz unsalted butter, rm temp

-3/4 C sugar

-1 egg yolk

-1 1/2 C flour

-1/2 cornstarch

-1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt


1. W an electric mixer on low. beat together butter & sugar for bat 30 seconds

2. Keeping speed on low, beat in; egg yolk, then flour, cornstarch, and salt, until the mixture barely holds together. DO NOT OVER BEAT

3. To make shapes, form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic & freeze or refrigerate for at least 30 mins, until firm.

4. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4inch thick.  Cut into shapes (i did stars & half moons). Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Chill for at least one hour.

6. Heat oven to 275 degrees.

7. Bake until just firm but still tender & not at all brown, bat 30mins.

8. Cool for a minute or two on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.



-1 pound, 2 oz confectioners sugar

-5 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened

-1 3/4 oz milk

-1 tsp lemon zest


1. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar & butter on low speed until sandy-textured & no lumps remain

2. Mix in the milk. Increase the speed to high & mix until soft & light.

3. Add lemon zest. Mix for 30 more seconds.

4. Ready to frost.

The last batch of cookies I made (pictured on this post) had pecans in them.  I’ve also made a few batches of the chocolate dipped ones…eventually, I’d like to try them all!  Though, any version you choose, are sure to be delish.  Enjoy!



Espresso-Chocolate: Melt 1 oz of bittersweet chocolate in double-boiler or microwave & let it cool a bit. Beat into the butter & sugar before adding the egg yolk.  Add 1 TBS instant espresso powder w dry ingredients.

Chocolate-Dipped: Melt abt 1 C semisweet chocolate in a double-boiler or microwave, stir until smooth. Dip the baked shortbread into the chocolate & put on waxed paper to dry & harden


Coconut Lime: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut on a rimmed baking sheet & bake until toasted, abt 3 mins; cool slightly. Add 2 TBS lime zest w the egg yolk; add the toasted coconut w the dry ingredients.

Lemon-Poppy Seed: Reduce the butter to 14 TBS. Add 2 TBS lemon juice & 1 TBS lemon zest w the egg yolk. Add 1 TBS poppy seeds with dry ingredients.

Orange: Add 2 TBS grated orange rind w the egg yolk.


Crystallized Ginger: Reduce the sugar to 1/2 C & add 1/2 C finely chopped crystallized ginger.

Nuts: Add 1/2 C chopped pecans, pistachios, or almonds (w or wo the cinnamon)

Cinnamon Sugar: Reduce sugar to 1/2 C & add 1/4 C brown sugar. Add 1 tsp cinnamon w the dry ingredients.

Vanilla: Skip the cinnamon & add the 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract w the nuts.


Rosemary & Olive Oil: Reduce butter to 12 TBS & add 1/4 C olive oil. Add 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary w the dry ingredients.

Parmesan: Keep the butter & skip the olive oil; add 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

Black Pepper: Add 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper w the dry ingredients