In today’s post: Learn how to make the most amazing homemade shortbread – it’s super easy!
Shortbread has been one of my dad’s favorite Christmas treats for YEARS. I’m not sure he’s ever happier than when he finds a tin of Walker’s shortbread under the tree. A few years ago I realized I should figure out how to make it for him so I started looking through shortbread recipes – turns out they are dead simple! And (as expected) homemade shortbread is really so. much. better. than the kind you get in a tin. It’s tender, crumbly, and buttery. What could be better?
Today I’m going to share the super easy recipe (5 ingredients! and 2 of those are optional!), and show you two different ways to share your shortbread. You can make traditional wedges, like you see above, or cute little cookies, like you see below.
In a fight between shortbread wedges and shortbread cookies, which would win? Well, that depends.
The wedges look a little fancier, and I think (because you don’t actually roll them out) the texture is a little more delicate – a bit more crumbly and melt in your mouth-y, while the cookies are a little crunchier, like a store bought shortbread cookie.
However, the wedges require a bit of care. To get a perfect circle, you really need a springform pan to bake them in. And you’ll want to do a little decorating before you bake, but don’t worry, I’ll give you tips that will make that pretty darn easy.
The cookies, on the other hand, are as easy as rolling out the dough and using your favorite cookie cutter to cut them out. Easy peasy. Just remember the the rolling makes them a bit crunchier and not quite as flaky. At out house we prefer the wedges, but BOTH versions get gobbled up.
Easy shortbread recipe
For Cookies (makes 20)
- 1 cup Salted Butter softened
- 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- pinch of Salt
- 2 cups All Purpose Flower
For Wedges (makes 16)
- 3/4 cup Salted Butter softened
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
- pinch of Salt
- 1 & 1/2 cups All Purpose Flower
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and salt.
- Beat in half the flour. Beat the remaining flour JUST until mixture comes together - it will still be quite crumbly.
- Turn dough into greased 9 inch springform pan. Gently press in a pan, using small glass to roll top smooth. Decorate as desired.
- Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from oven and remove sides of pan. Slice into 16 wedges and return to oven for 10 minutes.
- Turn off oven and crack oven door and allow wedges to cool in oven for 1 hour.
- Turn dough onto floured surface and bring together with hands. Roll out to rectangle just larger than 8x10 inches. Cut into 20 2x2 inch squares and place on cookie sheet.
- Chill in fridge 30 min or freezer 5 min.
- Bake for 26 minutes until edges are just golden brown.
Please note that you only want to beat in the flour until the dough is beginning to come together. It will still look fairly crumbly (see video below). If you beat it as long as you would a normal cookie dough, the finished shortbread will not be tender. Also, please note that the ingredient amounts are slightly different for wedges than they are for cookies. Finally, please don’t tell me this recipe has too much butter in it. Yep, that’s a lot of butter, and that’s what makes shortbread taste amazing!
How to make shortbread
Watch this video to see how to shape the two different varieties of shortbread (written instructions follow):
How to shape shortbread wedges
To make shortbread wedges, you will need a 9 inch springform pan. Spray it with nonstick spray. Once mixed, your shortbread dough should be crumbly. Dump it directly into the springform pan and use your hands to press it gently into the pan. Then use a small glass or cup like a rolling pin to smooth the surface (it doesn’t have to be completely smooth – see photo below).
Shortbread traditionally has some sort of decoration on it, which both makes it look pretty and allows steam to escape for even baking. You can decorate however you’d like! To make your shortbread wedges look like mine, grab a fork and gently press the tines all around the edge of the shortbread, as shown below.
Next, find a bowl that’s about 6 inches in diameter. Flip it over and center it on the shortbread dough; press down gently to create a circular indent in the dough.
Finally, use the blunt end of a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke holes all along the inside of the circle.
At this point your shortbread round can go directly into a 325 degree oven.
I found the perfect baking method for this shortbread from RecipeTin Eats. You’ll cook the shortbread for 22 minutes, then pull it out of the oven. Release and remove the sides of the springform pan and use a sharp knife to quickly slice the shortbread into 16 wedges. Return it to the oven for 10 more minutes until the edges are golden brown and the shortbread feels set. At this point, turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the shortbread in the warm oven to cool for 1 hour. This ensures the shortbread gets cooked all the way through – undercooked shortbread is NOT good – without getting too brown and crunchy.
Why slice the shortbread before it’s completely done cooking? Because you’ll get fewer cracks and crumbles that way. The wedges turn out so pretty!
How to shape shortbread cookies
Making shortbread cookies is even easier than making wedges. Once your dough is mixed and crumbly, lightly flour the counter and turn out the dough. Pull the dough together and roll it over once or twice to incorporate the crumbs but do not knead or mix!
Flour the dough and a rolling pin, and roll your dough into a rectangle that’s just larger than 8×10 inches, working it as little as possible.
Now you can use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 20 2×2 inch squares, or you can use a 2×2 inch cookie cutter to do the same thing. You can cut round cookies if you like, but re-rolling the extra dough will result in a slightly tougher cookie, so I recommend sticking with squares and just eating any scraps of dough.
Poke the cookies a couple times with a fork to allow steam to escape.
To make sure the cookies don’t spread, it’s best to chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking in a 325 degree oven for approximately 26 minutes, til edges are just golden and tops feel set. Allow to cool on the countertop before serving.
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