Shortbread, Three Ways

Basic Shortbread Dough

Yields: 1 batch, or about 18 cookies (Quadruple this to make all three cookie varieties)


½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon salt


  1. Whisk together the butter and sugar until it is a very pale, light, and fluffy, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer, longer if you’re doing it by hand. Whisk in the egg yolk and vanilla.
  2. Fold in the cornstarch, flour, and salt until just combined. Do not over mix.
  3. Chill the dough for at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Scottish Shortbread

Yields: 24 large cookies, or 36 small cookies


2 batches of basic shortbread dough

2 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Divide the cookie dough into 6 equal pieces. Press the dough into 6 mini 4 ½ -inch tart pans. If you don’t have tart pans, pat the dough into rounds about 4 ½ inches in diameter on a cookie sheet.
  3. Prick the dough with a fork, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Cut each round into 4 equal pieces, or 6 pieces for smaller cookies. Chill for about 30 minutes.
  4. Place the tart pans onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
  5. Let cool and serve.

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

Yields: about 18 cookies


1 batch shortbread dough

½ cup sunflower seeds (can be substituted with finely chopped nuts)

⅓ cup lemon curd (can be substituted with jam)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour the sunflower seeds into a small bowl or plate.
  2. Roll the dough into 1 ½ - inch balls. Roll the dough balls in the sunflower seeds and placed onto a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with foil. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart.
  3. Use your thumb to indent  the center of the cookie, make a well for the curd filling later.
  4. Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges. Let cool.
  5. Place about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into the center of each cookie.

Jam Sandwich Cookies

Yields: about 12 cookies


1 batch shortbread dough

⅓ cup jam


  1. Place the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, and pat into a flat disk. Cover with another piece of parchment paper, and roll the dough with a rolling pin until about ⅛ inch thick.
  2. Place the dough onto a cookie sheet, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  4. Using an (approximately) 3-inch heart cookie cutter, cut out 24 hearts from the dough. With half of the cookies, use a mini heart cookie cutter to punch out the centers. When you re-roll the scraps, follow the same process of rolling the dough between the parchment paper and refrigerate for about an hour.
  5. Place the cookie on greased cookie sheets, or cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake the cookies, using separate cookie sheets for ones with the centers and ones without the centers. Bake the ones with centers for 15-18 minutes, and the ones without the centers for 12-15 minutes, or until they are slightly golden around the edges.
  7. Let cool completely. Turn the cookies with the centers upside down, and spread about 1 teaspoon jam on each of them. Top with one of the cookies without centers.