Shortbread is such a classic cookie that I can’t believe I’ve never made it before– I mean, sure, I’ve made variations like pink peppercorn shortbread, or cocoa nib shortbread, but regular, simple shortbread has never made it onto my radar. Until now, of course.
I was looking for a cookie to make on short notice (meaning, no room-temperature butter allowed), with a minimum of fuss, so a basic, no-frills cookie was definitely called for. I didn’t want to have to deal with rolling and cutting, or even portioning into balls, so with those restrictions in mind shortbread seemed perfect. Add in the fact that this recipe calls for melted butter, and it was a no-brainer!
I will note that once you make the dough (which takes no time at all), you’re supposed to let it rest in the pan at least 2 hours, or overnight– however, I didn’t have a problem with this because I just mixed it up the night before and baked it the next morning. The only slightly tricky part was cutting the par-baked dough into even fingers, but I wouldn’t skip this step– it makes the cookies so much easier to separate once baked. I’m certain that if I’d tried to cut them after baking they’d have crumbled into pieces!
The finished cookies are elegant in their simplicity, with an added crunch from the raw sugar and salt sprinkled on top. Baked in a fluted tart pan, they look almost fancy, but still homemade in the best way possible. I think I may add this to my list of recipes for cookie trays– easy to make, easy to overlook, but addictive once you have the first bite!
- 6 oz or 170g unsalted butter
- 5 tbs. or 60g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 6.75 oz or 190g flour
- coarse sugar
- kosher salt (or flaky salt)
- Melt butter and sugar together in a bowl– microwave is fine.
- Add vanilla and salt, then stir in flour. Dough will be oily-looking but that’s fine.
- Grease your pan– I used a rectangular fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, and the removable bottom makes it a lot easier to get these out– and press dough evenly into it. If you’re using a regular pan, line with a parchment sling.
- Let dough rest in the pan for at least 2 hours, or overnight, on the counter. No refrigeration required.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven and use a butter knife to carefully cut into desired widths.
- Sprinkle top of the dough generously with coarse sugar and lightly with kosher salt.
- Return pan to oven and continue to bake for 30-40 more minutes, until deep golden brown. Start checking at 25 minutes in case your oven runs hot, but don’t be overcautious with judging color– pale golden will not get you that rich, buttery flavor!
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then lift the shortbread out and move to a cutting board. It’s likely that most of your shortbread fingers will naturally separate, but if they don’t, help them along with a sharp knife.
- Let cool completely before eating.
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