twice-baked shortbread

[Note: The shortbread got some fresh photos in 2019.]

I spend much too much time trying to figure out why some recipes we try out burn a hole in my laptop until I can get them up on the site–sometimes, even a day seems too long to keep something from you, like last week’s soup–and why others can linger for months. Sometimes, I’m just not that into them, but don’t want to admit it publicly and perhaps hurt their feelings, or even yours, if you happen to fall for them. Other times, the pictures just came out horrendously, and oh, we all know an ugly-looking recipe is a hard sell (sorry, big-name food magazine whose October cover picture actually convinced me to not buy it).

But then there are times that it is none of the above–the recipe was good, the photos were acceptable and there’s not a single good reason for me not to pass the word on, and yet, three months later, here is this Zucchini Rice Gratin. So, without further ado, bear with me as I clean some stuff off my hard drive today; I might want to try these again before I insist that you laminate and frame these recipes, but it doesn’t mean that they were any less worth sharing.

roasting tomatoesonions and rice, nomzucchini rice gratinzucchini rice gratin

Zucchini Rice Gratin: Caramelized onions, rice, lightly roasted tomatoes and zucchini layered in a baking dish with grated parmesan and oh my gosh, this was really delicious. Small problem, though, I was rushing when I cooked it; rushing like crazy. We were going out of town the next day and I had bought the ingredients many days before and I was physically unable to let them go to waste. So, I rushed. And well, I forgot to add the egg, I mean eggs. The result? Tasted good to me, but I can’t help but wonder how much better it would have been with some more cohesiveness. Tomatoes aren’t looking that great these days, so I suspect it will be a while before I find out. [Update: In fact, I wrote about this recipe again in 2012]

the best tomatoes, evertomato salad with tahini dressing

Tomato and Onion Salad with Tahini Dressing: Just days after I lightly chided New York Times food writer Mark Bittman for having recipes that could befuddle the home cook, he put a clear as day combination on his Bitten blog that I quite liked. We were past the midway point in tomato season by then; I was still a-smitten with this summer’s batch as I had been in any other year past, but I was getting bored of my go-to tomato salad (any vinegar, olive oil and some flaky salt). Tahini dressing seemed like a great way to bridge tomatoes into fall, and it was even better on the most amazing tomatoes I have ever bought from an organic farm on the North Fork the weekend before. Seriously, these tomatoes were so good that my tomato season ended the day I ate this salad. It wasn’t going to get any better than this, so I thought I should quit while I was ahead. Consider yourself warned on that one. [Recipe]

peeling sweet potatoescooking sweet potatoesdiced sugar snapssweet potato salad

Sweet Potato Salad: Well, here’s a lesson for you: Don’t buy sweet potatoes in August. They won’t be very good. Still, I already had fall on the brain when I wanted to make one last potato salad this summer and the notion of a sweet potato one seemed like a great way to bridge the seasons. That it had a spicy peanut dressing didn’t hurt either, because my favorite things to do with squash or sweet potatoes is to pair them with something with a kick. The end result, however, was as could be expected from sweet potatoes bought months before they were in season–bland. Yet, since everything else about it was tasty, it leads me to believe that if I had cooled my heels another couple months, this could have been a great one. Of course, then might wonder how they can find sugar snap peas worth eating three months out of season, and well, I suppose that leaves us at something of an impasse. [Recipe]

what you'll needbutter, sugar, vanillastir togethersmooth into pan and restafter the first bakeslice, then bake again

Twice Baked Shortbread: Oh, this one is crazy delicious too. It is from a fantastic cookbook I bought months and months and months ago–Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich–that I have made only this single recipe from — so far!

[Update!] I revisited this recipe in 2019 and was consumed with regret for waiting so long — these are best-in-category material. The two untraditional processes (a rest time before baking, and a second bake after slicing) pay off. The rest time lets the flour hydrate and the sugar dissolve, for a better final texture, no powdered sugar (and its slight chalkiness) required. The second baking ensures that the butter tastes absolutely toasty, with a faint suggestion of brown butter. And here’s the best part: I’m not even using fancy butter here, just regular old non-European store brand and with the depth of buttery flavor, you’d never know. Imagine how good they’d be with fancier stuff. [Recipe below]

twice-baked shortbread

One year ago: Arroz Con Pollo
Two years ago: Pumpernickel Bread

Twice-Baked Shortbread

Medrich says that the secrets to tender, buttery, crunchy shortbread are letting the dough rest in the pan for at least two hours, or overnight, before baking and adding a second baking, to toast the cookies ever-so-slightly for extra flavor and crunch. Shortbread can keep for weeks in a sealed container, but I’ve never had any last that long.

Note: You can watch an Instagram Story demo of me making these here.

  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 5 tablespoons (60 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from half a vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or a two solid pinches of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams or 6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • Turbinado, Demerara or another coarse sugar for sprinkling

Equipment: A baking pan with a removable bottom, such as a 9 1/2-inch round or a 4 by 14-inch rectangular fluted tart pan (I am using this one), or a one-piece 8-inch square pan

If using a pan with a removable bottom, grease the pan; if using the one-piece 8-inch pan, line it with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla of your choice, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Pat and spread the dough evenly in the pan. Let rest for at least 2 hours, or overnight (no need to refrigerate).

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Bake the shortbread for 40 to 45 minutes, until barely golden at the edges.

Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with sugar. Let the shortbread cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the shortbread from the pan, being careful to avoid breaking it. Use a thin sharp knife, or a sharp serrated knife, to cut it into oblong “fingers”, wedges, or squares. [I cut mine into 14 fairly large shortbread fingers, shown here, but might halve them next time for sharing.] Place the pieces slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

177 comments on twice-baked shortbread

  1. I am ashamed to say that I forgot how much I love shortbread and how simple it is to prepare! I always have all of the ingredients on hand. . . why am I not making it everyday! I have a batch of the twice baked shortbread sitting on my counter, patiently waiting for their 2 hours of rest to be up . . . Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. It’s interesting, so many shortbread recipes call for either corn starch or powdered sugar (I guess the starch helps bind the cookie) so it’s refreshing to see a recipe that stays pure. My lavender plant is having its last hurrah before I bring it indoors and I’ve been wanting to make shortbread with it, so this is well worth the wait!

  3. What a wonderful post. A nice gratin, salad and dessert!! The gratin sounds yummy. I’ve been in the mood to make shortbread and I will try yours. That is one cookbook I don’t have. I usually make Ina Garten’s shortbread recipe. Thanks for cleaning up your hard drive!!

  4. Crystal

    Ohhh! Those shortbread cookies- I remember those! I could have eaten the whole batch by myself. Make these cookies people!!

  5. Jennifer

    Aww… if only I could afford vanilla beans. This shortbread sounds totally delicious. I’m always tempted to brown the butter a bit when melted butter is called for in a recipe, so maybe I’ll play with this one tonight!

  6. I do the same thing on my blog…many recipes waiting in the wings, but I just never get around to posting them!

    I always say shortbread is the most boring cookie, but that? That looks and sounds amazing!

  7. Susan

    Shortbread cookies are in my top five. I love those Walkers pkg’d shortbread cookies and have yet to find a recipe as buttery or crisp/firm. I’ve tried a LOT of recipes for them. These two techniques (melting butter and twice baking) may be the answer. Thanks, Deb.

  8. Hannah

    I was looking for something to bring to a family dinner next week and thought I’d try out these shortbread cookies! My first batch just came out the oven and are completely delicious. One of the easiest baking recipes I’ve ever tried, too. Thanks!

  9. I have to find more time to peruse your blog. I have been making your oven roasted tomatoes on a weekly basis since I’ve discovered your recipe about a month ago and have been sharing with a friend. If the other recipes you feature are as spectacular – then I’m in recipe heaven!

  10. Don’t tell anyone, but yours is definitely my favorite food blog out there. And I read lots of them. Not that you need my affirmation, but it just seemed selfish to not tell you the truth. That you’re my favorite. Of all food blogs. Of all food websites. Of all food everythings.

  11. From Scratch

    On the same note: I cook and write recipes for a living and often forget to enjoy cooking for my family – this site has rekindled the urge to try other people’s recipes again – and I’m enjoying the ride…on a totally unrelated note – I’m coming to New York City for the first time (for a long weekend) and since I love Deb’s taste in recipes, I was hoping that she might share a list of her favourite must-eat/drink spots (more reliable, I think, than Chowhound?)… I can’t find any posts on this topic yet… here’s hoping?

  12. Christine

    You should also try the olive oil sherry pound cake recipe from Pure Dessert. It is really lovely and subtle, with its orange perfume and light sherry flavor. (I used orange oil instead of zest since there were no oranges in the house. Very nice.) Medrich is a genius. Now I will have to make these cookies and, likely, buy the book. Thanks for the tip on these!

  13. mmm..golden-edged shortbread. okay.

    the tomatoes here are taking a turn for the worse, too. as soon as october started, the rain started in, and that’s the beginning of the end. well, it was good while it lasted.

  14. lws in dublin

    Just fyi – I just made that zucchini gratin myself a week or so ago, and it was delicious with roasted canned tomatoes too!

  15. I have a subscription to that magazine and know exactly what you’re talking about! It came in the mail and I actually wondered whose idea it was to send the magazine out with that blech looking cover!

  16. I just made shortbread yesterday (espresso-chocolate chip). Wish I had seen your recipe first. I love anything Alice Mendrich. And I love the color of that sweet potato salad!

  17. I’ve made that zucchini rice gratin recipe no less than 6 times this summer and I’ve made a different mistake with it *every* single time. It ends up being delicious no matter how I mess up, so I feel like it’s definitely a keeper of a recipe :)

  18. What a great roundup of recipes and all but the shortbread cookies are already gluten-free. Yippee! I may even try the zucchini rice tonight as I’ve still got an abundance of zucchini. Once again — thanks for the great ideas and recipes!

  19. courtney

    hai deb! quick question. i don’t have either of the recommended pans but i have some adorable cookie cutters. do you think that refrigerating (maybe before and after?) and rolling the dough out would work here? and how would the twice baking play into that?

    1. Bridgit

      I refrigerated the dough in a slab, cut out the cookies, refrigerated them again for 15 or more minutes and then baked them. They turned out beautifully. I didn’t pay exact attention to the timing but perhaps around 20 minutes for the first bake, then I let them cool and baked them longer. The cutest little Valentine’s Day hearts you’ve ever seen.

  20. Amy

    oh, my god that shortbread is delicious, and EASY. did I mention it was EASY?
    I made it to bring to a friend with dinner for tomorrow night. I hope it lasts that long!
    thanks for (another) keeper of a recipe.

  21. Kara

    Okay, I’ve known for a while that you like Indian flavors, and now that I know you love shortbread (and those are two of my favorites too), I have to ask, have you ever had chai-spiced shortbread? I can’t remember at the moment where I got the recipe, but I could find out quickly if you’re interested. I’m afraid it may have even ruined me for other shortbreads, because even seeing your beautiful pictures of your latest batch only made me think “mmm, I need to make some chai shortbread soon!” And this is coming from a girl who is 1/4 Scottish and my mom still makes her great-grandmother’s real, authentic, handed-down-direct-from-Scotland shortbread. It’s that good! Let me know if you want it.

  22. beth

    Well, after a weekend spent predominantly in the kitchen turning out your onion-dill bread, winter squash soup and coq a vin (seriously, my husband sends you his thanks), I guess I’m heading straight back in. My family has been scouring the web looking for shortbread recipes ever since my grandmother passed away a few years ago. When we found her recipe box, we realized that it did not contain her (off the boat from Scotland) mother’s shortbread recipe. Every Christmas, we bake batches and batches of shortbread, all different recipes, trying to find one that tastes just right. I’m not sure if we’ve ever done twice baked, though.

    I’ve never cooked with vanilla bean before (and I’m certain my great grandmother’s recipe didn’t call for any), but I’m going to give it a try. I finally feel confident enough in my baking to splurge on them. I always thought, what’s the point of spending $10 on 2 vanilla beans if you’re likely to burn the cookies anyway, right? My very first real vanilla beans will arrive on Saturday (thank you freshdirect, you make living in the ghetto almost bearable).

  23. heather m.

    i almost laughed out loud reading the end of that first paragraph. Man oh man, that picture was beyond horrible. i was waiting in line to buy a few groceries when my eyes happened upon it. Never before have i so furiously regretted glancing at a magazine (something i usually try and avoid, anyway).
    In any case, your blog is wonderful. i am rapt. Keep up the good work!

  24. prklypr

    You think the brisket chili cover was bad? Check out the Nov issue, with what looks like an overlit plate of half-eaten Thanksgiving dinner. What in the world are they thinking?? I’m about to cancel my subscription…

  25. Susan

    I made the shortbread cookies. I am SO glad you posted this’s really, REALLY good. I think the rest period lets the flour soak up all that buttery flavor and melts the sugar enough to sweeten the whole of it. That second heating gave it good crunch and a bit of the browned butter flavor, which I love. Mighty good! This will make excellent ‘play dough’ for experimentation. Thanks for this!

  26. Elizabeth

    Mmmm, shortbread! I cannot wait to try this recipe. One of my faves is one I got from Martha. It calls for Grand Marnier and orange zest. Yummy, but it doesn’t have that crisp, buttery texture. I’d like to try this version and then flavor it in the same way.

    P.S. Surely that magazine cover shot falls into the “it tastes better than it looks” category. Maybe?

  27. Hi There Deb!

    This is Trevor,a young amateur blogger who dreams to be half a blogger and half a chef.First things first,I caught your blog from the Martha Stewart Show,the one where she dedicated it to blogging.And then yeah,I’ll be adding you to my blog roll so that soon…even I’ll learn how to cook.Your site looks great the first few lines in the “About” page has already impressed me! Nice to meet you,Deb and will surely check up on your blog.Hope to see you at my place!


  28. I made these last night with browned butter as promised, and they’re lovely. Buttery and delicious. They were easy enough to remove from the pan with the foil overhang. I usually try to refrain from overmixing shortbreads or sandy cookies, but I think I might have been TOO lighthanded with these. Some of them crumbled as I was slicing them and transferring them to baking sheets. No matter, I ate those mistakes. :) I think I might give them a half-dip in chocolate…

    I made your apple cake last week too! My roommate and I enjoyed it warm out of the oven with a glass of milk. Thanks for the recipes, Deb!

  29. I haven’t even read your entire post yet – I had to pop down here to say that I subscribe to that magazine too, and every time I saw the cover it turned me off. I love lamb, and I love chocolate (which is what it kept looking like to me – some kind of cake?) – but BLECH! That picture! So glad it wasn’t just me!

    OK, must go read about shortcake now.

  30. I made the twice-baked shortbread cookies yesterday, hoping they’d last at least a couple of days. You were right: wishful thinking. My boyfriend and I went right through them in a night. Thanks for the recipe! I always love checking out your kitchen adventures and beautiful photos.

  31. Deb, I made these last night and have a question. I know my oven temperature is off and am suspicious that I got these too brown. How should they look/feel at the end of their first baking? I only put them back in for ten minutes because I was afraid they would burn. So, while they turned out a bit toasty tasting, they were still gobbled up by all who I shared them with. Thanks for the recipe…I’m going to keep working with it!

  32. B.

    That’s odd about the sweet potatoes. I’ve eaten countless bushels of sweet potatoes in my day any time of the year. They’re generally harvested August through November, and they keep through the next year with no loss of flavor. In fact, as time goes by, the flesh becomes drier and firmer, concentrating the flavor. Did you buy your sweet potatoes at a grocery or a farmer’s market? I find the taste and texture can vary widely, and boiling (in my opinion) is almost always a detriment to them both. I usually steam, roast, bake, or fry, but they just get soggy cooked in water.

  33. Beth

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the Zucchini Rice Gratin. Definitely worth 5 dishes! Thanks! Can’t wait for that pumpkin brownie recipe to post…… (yay flickr!)

  34. Colleen

    My first attempt at shortbread and I shall look no further for a recipe. When I read your post I ran right out and bought the 4×14 tart pan you recommended. Should have bought two. Fully intend to buy another, so my question is this: can I double the recipe or just make two separate batches? Also, can you tell me the approximate size of the rectangular wafers you made and how many did you get out of one pan? I got 15 wafers measuring approx 2-1/2″ x 1″. They’re not going to last long, I can guarantee you that, which is why I want to make enough dough for two pans.
    I need to be more careful when I press the dough in the pan and make sure it’s even. Thought it was, but some pieces are thicker than others. I recently bought a small silicone roller with only one edge and I think that will help me to make the dough more even next time. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Incidentally, yours is the only recipe site I bother with as it consistently has recipes of interest to me. Hope to receive your reply soon.

  35. Colleen

    I was just reviewing earlier posts and, Kara, I would love to have your great grandmother’s shortbread recipe. I’m also 1/4 Scottish, 1/4 Irish, and 1/2 English. Not born in the USA but I got here as fast as I could! Please do post, if Smitten approves.

  36. I absolutely love shortbread cookies. My grandma used to make the best ones when I was younger. I’ve been looking for a really great recipe ever since. These are so flaky and they lose that overly buttery feel. The Turbinado sugar on top adds just enough sweetness to the cookie. I can’t wait to sit down with a good cup of tea and one of these shortbreads tonight!

  37. I made the shortbread yesterday – husband and I enjoyed them. Thanks for posting the recipe! I did have a hard time cutting it without cracking and crumbling, esp at the edges. Any hints or tips?

  38. Cookin in MD

    I’ve been lurking here for a while. I really enjoy all of your recipes and pics. I’d never been successful at making shortbread until these – they were wonderful. I used european butter for them and they were excellent. Also, you don’t need to break out the huge stand mixer which made them really easy to make.

  39. Colleen

    Deb, the recipe for the twice-baked shortbread said if you use an 8×8 pan, line it with foil with an overhand. I would really like to use an 8×8 shortbread pan with a design on the bottom. The pan is non-stick. If I greased it well, do you think they would release without crumbling? They do come out beautifully in the4x14 but I thought the design would also be nice if you think it feasible to use the 8×8.

    Also, could you please reply to my Oct 12 message about doubling the dough in order to make two batches simultaneously.

  40. deb

    Hi Colleen — I made the shortbread in a fluted, rectangular removable-bottom tart pan that hadn’t been lined with foil and it came out fine. Shortbread is very buttery so sticking isn’t usually an issue. That said, I have never made this recipe in a decorated bottom pan, so wouldn’t know for sure that it would work. Do let us know how it comes out!

    I don’t see any reason why the recipe cannot be doubled.

    Re, #58: I do, as you can see, respond to queries as quickly as possible, but I was out of the country the week you posed your questions.

  41. catty

    question, i know shortbread is supposed to be buttery, but did anyone have a problem with overly greasy cookies? i followed the instructions to a T, but the cookies were dripping with!

  42. Shana

    Hey, I am super excited about the shortbread recipe, but I just purchased a cookie press and I’m very eager to try the recipe using my cookie press instead of a pan.. The question is will it work using the cookie press, will they turn out great?

  43. Well, I not only made one batch but TWO…I adore shortbreads but usually find them more on the sandy side….these were more on crystalized sugar side…crunchy as you described . Do you have a good old shortbread finger receipe that is less crunchy and more on the sandy side. Must say these are addictive….I ate the first batch…froze the second one, and guess what all week long I pulled out “just one for now” but they are just toooooooooo good to not want yet another.

  44. Claire

    I just made a batch of these and think they are delicious. I had to pack them away as soon as they cooled as I am hoping to have some left to take with us to Dorset coast tomorrow. Luckily there were a few crumbly bits that couldn’t possibly have accompanied us!

  45. Jane

    This shortbread recipe is great! I was born in Scotland, and grew up eating shortbread. My Scottish aunt makes her recipe for every family event, and I always thought they were the best……until now. These just blow hers out of the water! Shhh….don’t tell her!

  46. Jennifer

    I made these this afternoon with the intention of bringing a treat into the office tomorrow. Unfortunately, they are, or WERE so delicious, there may not be any left to take in. Oh well, I don’t really like my coworkers that much anyway. Thanks Deb!

  47. Katie

    For whatever reason (I’m blaming my oven) these turned out a bit dry and seem more like crackers- even though I under baked them (one side side burned.) I was hoping to put these out tomorrow morning for a party in conjunction with a speaker but I just I’ll just put out a pot of jam with it- they seem like they would go decently with that.

  48. Jean

    How much does 1-1/2 sticks of butter weigh? You don’t say the size of the sticks. Are you talking about a 1 lb. stick? Or are you talking about a 4 oz stick?

    1. deb

      4 ounces. 1 1/2 weighs 6. Sticks generally refer to those that come in four-packs in American butter boxes. But yes, weights are always more helpful.

  49. Shammah

    Hello, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and honestly I turn to your site everytime I think of baking something but can’t decide on a good recipe. Anyway, looking at the shortbread recipe, some recipes say to knead the dough and others just to mix, any idea which is better/what’s the difference?

  50. Jane

    A few people have asked if you can use a cookie cutter with this twice-baked recipe. You can and they are decicious and very easy but not as resilient as a traditional sugar cookie. This is how I did it:
    1. Make dough
    2. Roll between two sheets parchment paper on a glass cutting board – keep the dough quite thick
    3. Chill for two hours
    4. Cut out. I used a one-inch heart-shaped cutter to make miniature cookies for a bridal shower. Place on a baking tin lined with parchment paper. These took ten minutes to bake at 300 degrees. I’m guessing that standard sized cookies would take about twenty minutes.
    5. Leave to cool! Or they will fall apart in your greedy hands…
    6. Carefully lift. I found one or two of the thinner cookies broke but the thicker ones were fine.
    7. Dip half in chocolate.
    I’m planning to make these for Christmas presents . They are quite fragile though… but so good it’s worth it.

  51. Jane

    Shammah – I mix it with a big wooden spoon, flour my hand, then pull the dough together in about five seconds flat. That’s all it takes, it’s very easy to work with.

  52. Taymour

    I was torn between this recipe and David Lebovitz’s recipe – but he didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about his and this recipe has been linked to on so many other blogs… The dough looked a bit odd. A little like the beginning of a roux: butter soaked flour. I chilled it for four or five hours as it’s very hot where I am. Baked it at 150C for 45 mins – and then another 5 because it seemed quite pale and soft. Cut it and baked for another 15 mins but the shortbread was still quite soft and quite greasy. I thought it might become hard as it cooled – but it remained quite soft. My oven is slow so perhaps it needed a slightly higher temperature or a little longer. Tasted quite nice though and lost the greasiness as it cooled. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. deb

      Browning the butter can be tricky if you don’t have a shortbread recipe that’s specifically intended for it. The dough can get a little too sandy and not stay together when baked. Trust me, I’ve tried it!

  53. Jenny

    I just tried a piece of this after baking the slices for a second time. I managed to achieve the golden crispy edges look. I feel like the shortbread is really dry. I’ve never made shortbread before and my experience eating it is limited but my shortbread had a crunchy top and bottom and the inside didn’t feel tender at all. Kinda more flaky?I’m wondering if this is the right texture? I let the dough rest for 2 hours. Thanks!

  54. Megan

    Hi! I’m making this shortbread for a friend and I just pressed the dough to a 9 1/2 inch round springform pan. It looks SUPER thin… is it supposed to be that way? :S please reply ASAP!

    P.S. absolutely adore your blog, makes a university students life difficult with the whole having no money to buy ingredients to try recipes… and an obligation to be studying rather than drooling over food blogs… but I love it!

    1. deb

      It’s a type of sea salt. Maldon comes in boxes and the texture looks more like little flakes than granules. It’s my favorite but I completely understand if most people don’t keep it around (or don’t want to spend $8 on a box of salt, though my boxes do last me years). A fine sea salt will also work. If you only have table salt, I’d use half as much.

  55. Jenny R

    I have a shortbread recipe from a Scottish lady. Have made it for years. It requires icing sugar and cornflour(and of course cake flour!) and I think this is what gives it a fine texture.
    But I need guidance about cooking times and temperatures!

    The recipe for roasted tomatoes sounds GOOD!

  56. Jenny R

    OOps. Meant to ask: does this twice baked recipe sort out the ‘line’ in the centre of a tray of shortbread.
    Might try this recipe too. Everyone’s raving about how easy.

  57. Can I use this recipe for the pecan squares on your blog? You mentioned not loving Ina’s recipe for shortbread. Do you think this would work? I am trying to make these instead of pecan pie for Thanksgiving with friends tomorrow!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

    1. deb

      Hi Brooke — I actually think that Ina’s is a better choice. It wasn’t bad, but it worked well with the recipe. These are more crisp. May crumble too much.

  58. Jeni

    Recently discovered smitten kitchen and I’ve LOVED everything I’ve tried (except the no-knead bread, which didn’t work for me at all, but that’s another story).

    I love that you make homemade versions of store-bought treats (wheat thins! goldfish!) for better quality and a higher yum factor, and in that spirit I’d like to try my hand at the chocolate-covered shortbread stars from Trader Joes. I tried Jane’s (#75) idea for rolling these out (as they’re sooooooo delicious) and it worked beautifully but left me with lots of dough edges that I can’t glob back together and re-roll. Is such a thing even possible with shortbread? Or do I have to acknowledge in advance that I’ll be wasting dough if I shape them? Sorry for the comment length and thanks again for a great blog!

  59. Okay, these cookies are amazing. I’ve been looking for a go-to shortbread recipe for some time now, thanks for posting this! I made mine with sprouted wheat flour and rose water. Hope you don’t mind if I post it on my blog — and mention you of course!

  60. Maria

    I tried the shortbread cookies yesterday and they turned out real awesome. Just wondering how do I cut them out to shapes (like Christmas Tree, Dove, etc)? I mean, at which stage do I do the cutting and shaping?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  61. irma

    Mmm, these are wonderful with tea. I prepared it at night (around 11, a great time for baking projects) and made it in a 27 cm round fluted tart pan with removable bottom and put it in the refrigerator covered with foil for the next day. I took it of the refrigerator 1 hour prior baking.
    Mine turned a lot darker than your pictures, even during the first bake they had a nice beige color.
    I really want to make these with browned butter or clarified butter.
    It took us two people 5 minutes to finish them; fighting over the last piece.
    Thank you!

  62. Valerie

    When making shortbread, I always splurge for European butter since it’s the star ingredient. I had to admit to being a bit nervous as I patted the dough into the pan and it felt much greasier than other shortbreads. But I trust Alice and you, so left it be and hoped for the best. I’m glad I did, since this yielded marvelous, tender shortbread that’s not too delicate.I’d never tried double baking shortbread before, but really enjoyed the added texture.Thanks for rediscovering this lost recipe and sharing it. Yum!

  63. Bridget

    I made these today to bring on a trip in two days (hoping they will keep!) Very easy recipe that yields a lovely, rich cookie with a little crunch around the edges. I made a simple citrus glaze and used it on about half the cookies, which was nice for variety. I used a 9×9 springform pan and had some weird shaped cookies because of the rounded edges. Overall VERY easy and nice recipe!

  64. Valerie

    Every time I make this shortbread recipe (which is my favorite – thank you) I have to look up the weight for 12 TB butter, which is 170 grams. Just noting this in hopes you may add the weight to this recipe or this may help others. Thanks

  65. Hadley

    I made this! Sorta! I am living in France right now and have very few measuring tools, and I also only had brown sugar and it was a holiday, so stores were closed. Even my eye-balled, rushed, brown sugar version was SO STUPID EASY and made me go “why have I never made shortbread before…..WHY” I HAVEN’T STOPPED TALKING IN ALL CAPS SINCE. MAYBE IT’S THE BUTTER. I LIKE IT, THOUGH! IT ADDS EXCITEMENT TO LIFE. THANKS FOR THE RECIPE!

  66. A very easy and delicious shortbread recipe. My oven must run WAY hotter than yours, though, because I only needed to have them in the first bake for 35 mins, which was actually too long.

  67. Vanessa

    This is an outstanding recipe. I’ve made it many times for us and for friends and it’s superb and simple. I agree, though, that the first baking time is long, and my oven doesn’t run hot–I baked them for 35 min and at that point they were already brown enough I didn’t do a second bake. Demerara sugar really adds a gorgeous finish.

  68. janmorrison12

    This is my 8th year of making this and it always turns out brilliantly. I come from a long line of Scots and tried getting just the right recipe for years. None were near as good or as easy as this one. Thank you Deb! In fact, I’ve never tried ANY recipe of Deb’s that hasn’t been everything promised. It’s not the holidays without true shortbread!

  69. Ladyofthecat

    The shortbread is to die for. I put 2 tbs of earl grey lose leaf tea in the melted butter and let it steep for 10 mins. Strain it before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. Soooo gooodddd

  70. erin

    if i wanted to make this ahead of time, at what point would you recommend freezing? dough after resting? cookies after baked once or twice? XO

    1. deb

      I think most people freeze cookies like this after they’re baked. Just pack them well. That said, any other of the schedules you suggested will work, especially if you want them to be freshly baked when you eat them.

  71. Allie

    I make this all the time….. Possibly my favorite dessert. I use a quarter cup sugar, to make it a little more snack-like, and skip the sugar sprinkle. I also skip the vanilla and use really good French butter (thanks Trader Joe’s!).

    1. Allie

      Oh also, the cooking time seems to depend on what flour I use. When I use Bob’s Red Mill I do the full 45 min, but when I use King Arthur Flour, it seems to be done in 35 min.

  72. Morgan

    These shortbread were fantastic. My oven is a bit finicky so I had trouble maintaining the temperature on the first bake. I wish I had them go just a tad bit longer on the first bake but they came out delicious!

    I used a glass 8×8 pan with foil and had no trouble taking it out.

  73. Jennifer Kepesh

    This shortbread is fantastic. I used the greased springform pan, and it released perfectly. I didn’t need to bake it the extra ten minutes, it was perfectly browned.

  74. Rebecca

    I tweaked these like the olive oil rosemary shortbread in SKED- this recipe and method, but subbed half the butter for olive oil and added about 1 T of rosemary and 1 T of fennel seeds. Soooo delicious and just a smidge more portable/durable than the cookbook recipe (which is delicious as written, but more of a fragile/tender cookie). Thank you, as always!

  75. Dee

    This is THE best shortbread cookie recipe. I make it EVERY year at Christmas to give to family and friends. It’s my GO to – never fail. Just watch your oven, mine tends to over bake so I take care to watch it toward the end of baking.

  76. Sarah

    I’ve never really gone for the shortbread cookie on a platter or ever considered making them…but I just pulled this recipe out of the oven and the cookies are SO DELICIOUS!!

  77. I have a passion for shortbread and this looks is what I am looking for! Such simple ingredients, and yet such goodness! Thank you for sharing, and for your explanation on how to do it right!

  78. Felecia

    If you’re sad because you love Walker shortbread cookies and you love baking and you can’t recreate the shortbread that you crave at home, you need to make these cookies. I made the recipe as is, a salted rosemary version, and a buttered rum version and they all turned out perfectly. Perfect recipe and infinitely adaptable.

  79. Greg

    40/45 minutes 1st bake way too much.the shortbread was mostly crumbs when finished cutting. And the 2nd bake left the few solid pieces in crumbs too. Good crumbly topping for ice cream.

  80. Lisa Taylor

    These taste great but I had trouble with crumbling. Any thoughts on flour or European butter vs. American for a more consistent outcome? Tasty enough to warrant another try, looking for solution.

  81. Laurae Pearson

    This looks so delicious, but I cannot figure out how to convert the recipe to a 14″ x 5.75″ tin. Might you be able to help?!

  82. Sarah

    Thank you for re-posting this Deb! I wouldn’t have tried it until your post showed how simple it was, and after baking it just now I’m thrilled with them! I only had one stick of butter so I halved the recipe and spread it in the bottom of a loaf pan with aluminum foil and it worked really well. I even got distracted and left them in the pan for too long in between bakes and it was totally fine, if a tiny bit crumbly. Delicious!

  83. Jennifer Rea

    I feel like this recipe needs to come with a warning that says “deceitfully easy and VERY fussy.” What I mean by that is, transferring the baked sheet of cookies from the pan to the cutting board needs to have great attention given, which I didn’t know, and the cutting of the cookies needs a great deal of precision, which I tried my best, or else they’ll break. This cookie is so so so delicate. Even the crumbs of this cookie are delicious. It takes a deft hand is all, which I’m lacking.

  84. dm1415

    I love making shortbread for the holidays, but have several friends who must eat gluten free. Would this recipe work with Cup4Cup flour, I wonder?

  85. Lucy

    As a Brit, I find the addition of vanilla in so many ‘plain’ cake and biscuit (cookie) recipes interesting (I say interesting. This is a polite way of saying ‘appalling’). Is it an American thing? You would never find vanilla added to shortbread in the UK – the buttery flavour is the thing and to my British tastebuds, needs no further enhancement.

    My favourite ever M&S ring doughnuts have recently been ruined, to my mind, by someone’s bright idea of adding vanilla. Leave well enough alone! Sometimes simple is best.

    Looking forward to trying this recipe, as I love shortbread – without the vanilla, of course ;)

  86. pbbmom

    I made these, and while they turned out perfect, I felt they lacked a balance that more salt would help to bring. I plan on making them again with salted butter and maybe even an extra pinch or two of salt to add some dimension.

  87. Gretchen

    I made the shortbread today. Did a little sampling in the name of research. I hope I have enough for company tonight! I threw in a little cardamom and then drizzled a little coffee flavored icing on them…not bad…..

  88. This is indeed a foolproof recipe. I doubled this recipe to make in a 9×13 pan, but forgot to double the butter so added it at the end (probably over-mixing) and this still turned out well. I wanted to make these chai-spiced, so I added cardamom-ginger-cloves-nutmeg-cinnamon-black pepper to the butter as I melted it. Lots of complements at my work holiday party!

  89. janmorrison12

    This is, by my reckoning, my tenth year of making this shortbread. I’ve just finished making the dough for my third pan. This year we’ve moved and have a convection/microwave so only one pan at a time. I only use salted butter as I’m opposed to paying creameries more to not include something. But, other than that small change, I follow the directions. It is the best shortbread ever and I’m a McDonald Morrison with deep Scots ancestry – thems my creds. As for you lot who wish to tart it up – why? There’s plenty of cookies with dried sour cherries and chocolate from Mongolia with a touch of yak butter. Let this be the simple black dress in your repertoire.

  90. NewYorkNovice

    Have you ever had the butter fat leak out through the bottom of the pan? That’s what happened to me halfway through cooking and there was almost a fire (no worries, all good now). But I’ve never had this happen.

    I didn’t refrigerate for the rest time, but they did rest on a counter overnight. I’m sure they will still be delicious. Any thoughts?


  91. Melissa

    This is an excellent recipe. I subbed about 20% of the flour for oat flour with great results. This is the classic shortbread recipe I’ve been looking for.

  92. Carolyn

    Oh my goodness, these are the best shortbread ever! I saved the recipe a year ago and only made them for the first time yesterday. They are so flavourful, with the perfect amount of crispness. Thank you for sharing this very easy recipe, I’ve decided this is going to be made weekly :)

  93. Yael

    If anyone is wondering if these will work with browned butter, the answer is nope. On the bright side my crumbs make an incredible ice cream topping.

    That’s what I get for trying to gild the lily…

    1. Tanya

      Do you know why they won’t work with browned butter? What if one added back some water? Deb? Any thoughts?
      I, too, tried it with browned butter and it failed but I wasn’t sure why….or how to fix it. I think they would taste incredible with browned butter.

  94. Not eating anything MY coworkers make!

    On the hunt for Ted Lasso cookies; most sites say they are shortbread. So why not try my favorite most trusted source for recipes? Also, I may need your excellent research abilities and thorough approach and I am maybe hoping that you decide you need to figure out what the biscuits with the boss really are so you can tell me. Your yogurt flatbread is one of my favorite recipes and the comments make me wonder why Ted can show the British how to make shortbread so it must not be shortbread, right? They don’t look totally like shortbread to me, they look like crisper blondies. Slightly crisper brown sugar blondies.

    1. deb

      I also went on a shortbread tear after watching Ted Lasso and now have a newer recipe I just haven’t gotten to publishing yet. (Feel free to email me if you’d like to try it sooner!) This isn’t the same style shortbread — it has an extra bake for more crisp.

      1. Still not eating what my coworkers make!

        Thank you! I will! I made your snickerdoodles to tide me over until I get the recipe. Thank you for so many amazing recipes.

      2. Denise

        Hah I was just about to ask how these compare! I made this recipe at least a decade ago, and made the new one for my family a few weeks ago (they loved them). I don’t remember how these ones tasted (besides just generally good) and I’m thinking I might need to re-make these for comparison?

  95. hng23

    I’ve been making this recipe from the Alice Medrich book since it first came out & I can say without hesitation that if you bake this for 40-45 minutes it will burn. The first bake should be not more than 28-30 minutes, the second 15 minutes.

  96. Patsy

    This dough was incredibly greasy not like any shortbread or cookie dough I’ve made before. I weighed and measured everything accurately Is this to be expected.

    1. deb

      It shouldn’t be greasy but it’s a bit more buttery than others. With the longer baking time, the extra butter should provide a deep, rich flavor and snap.

  97. Patsy

    Thank you so much for the Instagram shortbread recipe. I almost gave up when I mixed the flour and butter because it looked so greasy – I was sure I had done something wrong. It’s baking now and I would have thrown it out but for your help.

  98. Em

    I’m planning on making a sweet corn ice cream with the abundance of sweet corn I have, and would like to make something with a savory butter topping for it. Do you think I could cut the sugar in the recipe to 1 TBSP, cut out the vanilla bean completely for it to become a savory shortbread? (Would it taste good on its own without the ice cream?) Like a savory salted butter shortbread to match the sweet corn…or maybe a crisp is better here.

      1. Em

        Yes I did look at other savory crisp/cookie recipes, but the group I’m making this for doesn’t have quite the sophisticated palate enough for them to want to eat cheese and herb shortbreads (many of them still eat processed sweets and junk foods), so I wanted to keep it simple with salted butter which always pairs well with sweet corn. :) Maybe I’ll stick to a blueberry sauce that I’d made when I previously made sweet corn ice cream, but wanted something savory/salty this time.

    1. deb

      Without testing, I’m not positive how essential the sugar is here. You’ll probably be okay, but in cakes and drop cookies, at least, leaving out sugar will mess things up a lot.

  99. Lori A. Lawson-Chabot

    Hi! I’ve made the twice baked shortbread a few times already & they are EVERYTHING!!! My Christmas cookie list has gotten away from me this year & I’m wondering if these can be made ahead & frozen or if they’re too tender for that? If you think they’ll hold up, do you have any tips for freezing & thawing them to maintain that delicious flavor & texture? Thanks so much, Lori

    1. Pamela Bochek

      I havent frozen this shortbread recipe before but grew up freezing other shortbread and I dare say nothing freezes better than shortbread. just the usual…make sure its completely cooled and then put in tightly sealed container by itself.

  100. MaryAnn

    Hi, I can’t find the Instagram demo for the twice baked shortbread. All I see is one for regular shortbread. Is there a link directly to it? Thanks!

  101. Katie

    How did you get yours so brown? I baked mine so long they turned dry and crumbly, but they never browned like the ones in your photo.