Recipe – Versatile Shortbread

Aug 17, 2018 | Recipes | 12 comments

For those who don’t like super sweet treats– shortbread is a great alternative. Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture with flavors that are limited only by your imagination. Today I’ll share my favorite shortbread recipe with you. These cookies are lightly sweetened, very buttery, and hold their shape very well during a bake.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookie

Ingredients for BASIC vanilla
  • (yields 12 3-inch shortbread cookies that are approx. 1/3 inch thick)
  • 300 grams all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks or 8 oz salted butter at room temperature
  • 75 grams powdered sugar
  • extracts or emulsions (approx. 1.5 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract), maybe zest and other dry ingredients
  1. Weigh all dry ingredients into bowl of a stand mixer and combine on low with softened butter until it STARTS to come together.
  2. Add in the extract when the mixture is crumbly but has started to combine.
  3. Continue mixing on low until a dough is formed and comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl– this can take a little time, but be patient.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 portions and roll to desired thickness between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Place in fridge for about 20 minutes before cutting out– cold dough is a lot easier to work with.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F – use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is what the dial says it is — most of our ovens are off!
  6. Cut the dough out into desired shapes, place on baking tray and into the freezer for approx. 10 minutes prior to baking.
  7. Bake straight from the freezer– approx. 18 minutes for 3-inch cookies, rotating halfway. Pay attention to the bake time as each oven is different. Feel free to bake shorter or longer for a softer or crunchier shortbread– customize it to your tastes!
  8. Take out and cool completely. Feel free to ice these cookies as well! Do take into consideration depending on how dense your icing is, you may experience some butter bleed since these cookies have so much of it; but definitely try!
  • For Lemon Poppyseed: Omit vanilla extract. Add in 2 tsps lemon extra, zest from 1 large lemon and 1 TSP poppyseeds to dough,
  • For Matcha: Substitute 15 grams of all purpose flour for 25 grams of culinary grade matcha powder — if you want to get fancy, drizzle with chocolate and it’s divine.
  • For Coffee Chip: Add in 2 packs of Starbucks VIA coffee packs and mini chocolate chips to taste, optionally, you can use 1 TBSP (or more to taste) of coffee grounds
  • For Vanilla Sprinkles: Keep recipe exactly as is, but mix in your favorite sprinkles. Keep in mind sprinkles behave different and some may melt at higher temperatures. But you don’t know until you try!
  • Feel free to mix in nuts, dried fruit, etc. Anything is possible with shortbread! Solid mix-ins DO affect how well shapes can be cut out by cutters, so do keep that in mind.

Please tag me @borderlandsbakery and share your creations with me on Instagram!

Happy Baking!


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  1. Abir

    Hello! Firstly, this recipe was so helpful and I like your work a lot. Secondly, I wanted to ask why you didn’t use eggs in this recipe?
    Thank you

    • Lisa He

      Hi! Shortbread by definition does not have egg. Once you add egg, it becomes a different cookie.

  2. María Ramírez

    Hi! It’s my first time with this recipe. I made the dough but I want to know if I can put it in the fridge for work with it later. In te recipe says that it most be in the fridge for 20 minutes, something happens to the dough if I let it in the fridge for hours?

    • Lisa He

      Yes- just make sure it’s plastic wrapped so it doesn’t dry out. You can keep it for days. and freezer for weeks.

  3. Tammy

    Thanks so much for shsring!
    Huge fan here!!!!

  4. Frannie

    Should we sift the flour first?

    • Lisa He

      Hi! If there are chunks, yes– use your judgement 🙂

  5. Jenna

    if i were to make a chocolate variation of the basic dough, how much cocoa powder should i add? how much flour should i subtract? thank you in advance!

  6. Sarah Young

    Hey Lisa,

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made these today but they bubbled quite a bit and I don’t know if its because they go straight from the freezer to the oven? Any advice? Thanks again!

    • Lisa He

      Hi– a little difficult to trouble shoot based on your description– perhaps a picture would be helpful.

  7. Andrea

    If I add almond extract for an almond flavor, would I eliminate the vanilla or do both? Any thoughts on how much almond to add? Thx!

    • Lisa He

      Depends on the flavor you prefer– you may need to experiment with all the variety. Lots of people do 2:1 vanilla : almond flavoring ratio.


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