Shortbread Cookies

Each Christmas season I try a different shortbread cookie recipe because I haven’t found “the one”.  There were pros and cons to each recipe.  The melt in your mouth texture that is crisp yet soft cannot be beat in my books.  But when you get something that melts in your mouth like butter the cookies can be quite fragile and not great for packing and sharing.  I have also used recipes that require rice flour and fruit sugar which creates some of the delicacy; that is if you can find them at your local grocery store.  Recipes that instruct you to refrigerate the dough before and after rolling just create another step in a process that can already take up a Sunday afternoon.  I believe icing sugar is key and any recipe with white sugar or brown sugar will turn out to be more like a sugar cookie than shortbread.  I prefer to have a dough that can tough it out on the cookie plate, broken cookies only make for tears and more calories for me to eat in our house.  So, as I continue my slow process of evaluation I  present to you a great recipe for 2012 adapted from the holiday LCBO food and drink magazine.

“Royal Shortbread”  (makes approximately 70 cookies so there are lots to share)


3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, corn starch, icing sugar and salt and stir with a whisk.
  3. With a pastry blender or 2 knives cut in butter, stir in vanilla and continue to stir until mixture comes together.  I had to use my hands for this part but I am sure you can also use your stand up mixer.
  4. Taking about 1/4 of the dough at a time roll out onto a lightly floured surface to about .5 cm thick.
  5. Cut into your desired shapes and using a thin spatula transfer cookies onto a baking sheet (you do not need parchment paper).
  6. Add any desired sprinkles to the cookies and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Just until the cookies begin to get golden around the edge.

“Sticky Tips”

  • Holiday cookie making is a traditional activity in our house as it was in mine growing up.  I have relinquished many of the controls to the kids but still I find it best if I roll out the dough and then let the kids do the cutting and decorating.
  • Work with one kid at a time – so much more enjoyable.
  • Have at least 2 maybe 3 cookie sheets to keep up the assembly line.
  • Put sprinkles into small bowls or ramekins for easy access for little sticky hands. And not to worry apparently baking kills germs.
  • Finally I would like to know who ever thought it was a good idea to design sphere like sprinkles. My advice to you would be to leave these very attractive sprinkles on the store shelves and opt for ones that don’t roll right off the cookie onto the pan, counter or floor.

Happy Holidays!!

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One Comment

  1. Helena

    This is the perfect shortbread cookie recipe! I love the light texture and rich but not too sweet taste. I baked mine at 325 and they turned out perfectly. Thanks Alison!

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