I absolutely LOVE a good cookie! Who’s with me?
These cookies are the kind of shortbread you have been dreaming about, the kind that would make my grandma proud – they are oh-so-buttery and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! These shortbread are a decadent treat and I don’t make them often, which makes them even more special. Still, they are very easy to make and are sure to impress at that afternoon tea with friends or cookie exchange.
For the Holiday Season, I like to double (or triple) the recipe, try different shapes and decorations, bake a bunch of cookies, then make cute cellophane packages with a few in each, and give to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbours (a nice mug and box of good quality tea or hot cocoa mix would complement the cookies beautifully and elevate them into a very special gift with a homemade touch). When gifting these, I always try to be mindful of the recipients’ dietary preferences, food allergies and/or sensitivities related to any of the ingredients used.
The dough comes together in a just few minutes, but it can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge for a week or so (never lasted longer than that at our house), to bake when ready to enjoy!
Best Shortbread Cookies
About 48 small cookies
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional) or more to taste, to make chocolate shortbread
- Measure cornstarch, sugar, flour (and cocoa powder, if using), and sift into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
- With a wooden spoon or the hook attachment, blend in the butter and extract until soft dough forms.
- Divide the dough and transfer portions onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log with the help of the wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
- Slice dough to make disks (about 1/4 inch thickness) or make small balls and flatten with a fork. Alternatively, roll out the dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, leaving a bit of space between the cookies.
- Top with almond slivers, pecan halves, shaved coconut, coloured sprinkles, or other decoration.
- Bake on 300F (150C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges start to brown slightly. Cool on wire rack before serving/packing.
Notes: I love to try different flavour combinations and find new favourites. This dough also works great for “jewel” cookies. Make small balls, flatten using your thumb to leave a shallow well, and fill the indentation with a bit of your favourite jam or some Nutella. They flatten a bit when baking and look beautiful with a layer of shiny jam. Chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and/or dried fruit can also be mixed into the dough before shaping the cookies. Bake as directed above.
For crescent cookies, add 1 cup of ground almond or hazelnuts to the flour mixture. Shape into crescents (“C” shape). Bake as directed above. When cool, dip one end of each cookie in melted chocolate.
Now I’m inspired to try to come up with vegan and gluten-free versions, and maybe even a low-carb recipe! Hope to share that soon. Stay tuned!