How to Make Shortbread

Опубликовал Admin
18-08-2021, 13:00
Shortbread is a delightfully rich and textured Scottish tradition. The simple version of this recipe is so easy you can memorize it: 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour. The version below goes a little further to improve the texture and ensure the dough cooks properly. Both wedges ("petticoat tails") and rounds use the same recipe.

Making the Shortbread Dough

  1. Prepare the oven. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (320ºF) and place a rack in the center position.
  2. Add cool butter to a mixing bowl. Take 115g (½ cup) salted butter on the cool side of room temperature, workable but not melting. Cut it into small chunks and add to a mixing bowl.
    • Most of the flavor of shortbread comes from butter, so using a fresh, high-quality product can make a big difference. The traditional choice is a European-style butter, which has a little more fat than American-style.
    • If you only have unsalted butter, just add a pinch of salt to the recipe. It won't mix in quite as well since shortbread dough is so dry, but it's not a major problem.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together. The recipe calls for 55g (¼ cup) sugar, but which type you use depends on your preferred texture. The most popular choices are caster sugar, for a sandy texture, or icing sugar, for a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Whichever you choose, add the sugar gradually as you beat it into the butter, until light and fluffy.
    • This takes about three minutes with an electric mixer's paddle attachment on low speed, or a bit longer by hand.
    • In the U.S. and some other countries, caster sugar is called "superfine", and icing sugar is "powdered" or "confectioner's."
    • You may use granulated sugar, but the recipe sometimes ends up a little gritty.
  4. Sift in flour and mix into a dough. Sift 130g (1 cup) plain flour and 40g (¼ cup) rice flour together to remove all lumps. Mix this into the butter mixture just long enough for it to form a soft, crack-free dough. If this takes more than six or seven minutes, slowly dribble in water, but no more than 15 mL / 1 tbsp.
    • Electric mixers and food processors can overwork the dough, making it tough. If you use one, keep it on low and finish it by hand. The warmth of your hands helps bind the dough together.
    • Rice flour (also sold as ground rice or rice powder) encourages the signature sandy texture. In a pinch, the shortbread should still turn out fine if you replace it with additional ordinary flour.

Baking Shortbread Wedges

  1. Line a circular pan with parchment paper. Let the paper hang over the edges so you can easily remove the shortbread. A single batch of this recipe should fit a 15cm (6 inch) pan.
    • This baking method makes a thick circle of shortbread with a soft center.
    • You can use a special shortbread mold instead to make shortbread with a patterned surface. If you do, dust the mold with icing sugar and place it in the fridge.
  2. Pat the dough gently into the pan. Press the dough into the pan and pat it flat, minimizing the handling time. If you'd like a smoother surface, cover the dough with plastic wrap and roll over it gently with a pastry roller or a lightweight jar.
  3. Chill the dough (recommended). Cover the pan in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for fifteen minutes (or even a full hour, if you're a perfectionist). This will improve the texture of the shortbread.
  4. Score dotted lines with a fork. Poke the top of the shortbread with a fork, outlining eight or sixteen wedge-shaped slices on the surface. Poke the surface of each slice in several places as well. Besides looking decorative, these holes allow steam to escape, preventing cracking or bubbling.
    • This wedge shape is a traditional presentation for shortbread, called "petticoat tails."
  5. Bake for 35–60 minutes. The shortbread is ready at the very first sign of golden brown at the edge, or even just before. It will take longer to bake in a smaller pan, since the dough is thicker.
  6. Cut and let cool. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer out of the pan using parchment paper. Cut into slices while still warm, using a knife or pizza roller. Place slices onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature, then serve or refrigerate in an airtight container.
    • Optionally, sprinkle with extra sugar.

Baking Shortbread Rounds

  1. Pat into a log shape. Form the dough into a log with your hands, with minimal handling. You'll be slicing this log into rounds, so estimate the size of biscuit you'd like to make.
    • If your hands are warm, it's best to avoid further handling of the dough. Instead, roll the dough onto parchment paper and cut out rounds with cookie cutters. Dust the rolling pin with icing sugar instead of flour, if you have it.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Let chill for at least fifteen minutes, preferably 30 to 60, in order to prevent spreading in the oven.
  3. Slice into rounds. The thickness can be anywhere from 5mm (1/5") for crisp biscuits, to 12mm (nearly 1/2") for chewy, soft-in-the-center rounds.
  4. Poke the tops with a fork. Poke a fork once or twice into the top of each round. This lets steam escape through the holes instead of bubbling or breaking the shortbread.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes. Place the rounds on a lined baking tray. Check on them around the 12 minute mark, especially if the round are thin. They are ready when set but still pale, or when pale golden if you prefer them crisp. Remove them immediately if they look brown, since the underside cooks faster than the top.
  6. Let cool before eating. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Sprinkle in sugar before eating for a sweeter, sparkling biscuit.
    • Pack leftovers in an airtight tub and eat within a couple weeks.


  • 115g / ½ cup European-style salted butter
  • 55g / ¼ cup sugar (caster/superfine, icing/powdered, or granulated)
  • 130g / 1 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 40g / ¼ cup rice flour or additional plain flour


  • Shortbread makes an excellent base for all kinds of flavorful ingredients. Try this lavender shortbread recipe.
  • Dip the shortbread in melted chocolate for a sweeter dish or try going for a twist by making millionaire shortbread.
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