Break out the baking equipment! The holidays are around the corner and it’s time to get ready for the season of indulgence. You know a cookie exchange (or two!) is around the corner and we think there’s only one sweet treat you need — classic shortbread. To ensure you turn out a perfect batch every time, we asked pastry chef Rachelle Cadwell, co-owner of Toronto’s Beast restaurant and Dough Toronto, about what to keep in mind before you start mixing. She has three simple rules:
Always use butter
This is non-negotiable, unless you are vegan.
“It’s called “short” bread because the butter and very little mixing prevents gluten from forming in the flour,” explains Cadwell. “You cream the sugar and butter together, but after you add the flour you just want to blend it a bit or it will get tough.”
Cadwell admits this is a tricky to figure out initially, but important. Why? “If you over-bake the cookies, they get drier and won’t melt in your mouth.” And let’s be honest, no one likes a dry, crumbling cookie.
Ready to roll? Our collection of recipes starts with a traditional, three-ingredient version. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be baking up the other variations in no time.
The only shortbread recipe you’ll ever need
Classic Shortbread CookiesSalted butter, confectioner's sugar and all-purpose flour — that's all you need to get going on your first batch of shortbread. Dip them in chocolate or drizzle some caramel. Warning: You won't be able to eat just one cookie.
GET THE RECIPE HEREJo Cooks
Green Tea Shortbread with Maple Vanilla GlazeBlogger Christy promises if you love tea, you'll be a fan of her matcha version. Making it easier, there's no extra flour required to roll out the dough, nor does the cookie sheet need to be greased before baking. Less work = winning recipe!
GET THE RECIPE HEREOnoNOMopia
Lavender Lemon Rolled ShortbreadPack these beauties up as a hostess gift or giveaways at your own holiday party. Guests will be thankful, we promise. Depending on the amount of lavender you like, blogger Barb has two shortbread recipes for you to choose from.
GET THE RECIPE HERE Just a Smidgen
Lemon Shortbread SquaresLemon extract and zest team up to add a burst of freshness to the rich, buttery dough. A touch of ginger and vanilla adds to the enticing aroma. Although perfect on their own, we think they would be amazing to make ice cream sandwiches with.
GET THE RECIPE HEREMy Bricole
Pistachio Shortbread CookiesWith the need to be refrigerated for at least three hours, these treats won't satisfy a cookie craving in a flash. But they are worth the wait. “Thinner slices will bake up crispier, and thicker ones will be more buttery and soft," writes blogger Susan. Proceed as you please.
GET THE RECIPE HERE The View From Great Island
Cinnamon Sugar Shortbread BarsHow do you add some pizzazz to a simple cookie? Just add cinnamon sugar! We like the more casual take on the cookies with them being fashioned into bars, so you don't have to be too careful about cutting them too uniformly.
GET THE RECIPE HEREBuns in my Oven
Lemon Shortbread CookiesA double shot of lemony goodness makes an appearance here with zest in the dough and fresh lemon juice in the sweet glaze. Switch the lemon for orange, or leave the citrus out altogether for just a classic shortbread cookie.
GET THE RECIPE HEREOn Sutton Place
Chocolate Dipped Orange Peel CookiesIf you're a citrus fan, get baking ASAP. Candied orange peel, zest and juice amp up the festive flair of these rich cookies with a semi-sweet chocolate dip. We won't tell anyone you ate more than one. Shhhh…
GET THE RECIPE HEREUse Real Butter
London FogContrary to its name, the London Fog is actually a Canadian creation. Essentially an Earl Grey tea latte, its delicate flavour is subtly captured in cookie form with the classic bergamot-infused tea leaves and vanilla bean. No need to serve it with tea on the side.
GET THE RECIPE HERE Oleander + Palm
Vegan Lemon ShortbreadThank goodness for vegan-friendly butter! Now no-dairy devotees can enjoy shortbread with just one simple ingredient swap. Don't be alarmed if the dough is a little crumbly. Just add some lemon juice to help it bind better together.
GET THE RECIPE HEREThe Viet Vegan
Asiago Lemon Thyme ShortbreadJust to switch things up, here's a savoury recipe that will make a great nibble at your next cocktail party. Make an extra batch and stash the dough in the freezer, so you just need to slice and bake if unexpected guests drop by.
GET THE RECIPE HEREThe View From Great Island
Cashew & Hazelnut ShortbreadDouble the nuts means twice the amount of flavour in our books. Sprinkling the cookies with caster sugar adds a nice little sparkle with the added crunch of whole hazelnuts and cashews. They keep well in an air tight container for up to four days.
GET THE RECIPE HERE Holly Cooks
Rosemary ShortbreadMade with equal amounts of flour and ground almonds, these cookies have a nutty flavour with a dash of sweetness from the caster sugar. They would make a great addition to a cheese platter, though we are happy to munch on them straight out of the oven.
GET THE RECIPE HERE Holly Cooks