Scottish shortbread cookies are a delicious classic treat that has been enjoyed for centuries. With their buttery flavour and delicate crumbly texture, they are perfect for any occasion. Ranging from a simple afternoon snack to a fancy dinner party, they never fail to impress. The most notorious brand is Walker’s, but I can bet anything that this homemade version is better with a faster melt-in-your-mouth sensation.
Origin of Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies originated in Scotland in the 1700s. At that time, they were a luxury recipe reserved for special occasions such as weddings and holidays. They were traditionally made with three simple ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour. The name “shortbread” comes from the fact that the dough is “shortened” or made crumbly with the addition of butter. Over time, shortbread cookies became more popular and were enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Today, they are a beloved treat worldwide. They can now be found in many different variations, from traditional Scottish recipes to modern twists with unique flavours and toppings. Nowadays also salt plays a very important role in a shortbread cookie. It has the perfect balance of sweetness with the perfect *zing* of salt that keeps you wanting more and more.
My History with Shortbread Cookies
There was a before and after Scottish shortbread cookies in my life. When I was living in Perú and Chile afterwards, I think I tried them once or twice, but they were not readily available. However, when I went to London you could get a pack of them everywhere. I could find them in the small corner store and also in the supermarket. I was OBSESSED. There was always a pack of these cookies in the pantry and they magically disappeared in a few days. By “disappeared” I mean I ate them, lol. I had to force myself not to buy them so that I wouldn’t eat that many. Now I’m back in Chile and they’re harder to get (not hard enough though). Still, with the classics such as Walker’s available, I 100% prefer homemade, freshly baked cookies. They’re perfectly crispy and they immediately crumb away and melt in your mouth. Also, since I’ve been watching the last season of Ted Lasso, I crave them EVERY TIME I see that small pink box he hands Rebecca every day.
Tips for Making Perfect Shortbread Cookies
Making Scottish shortbread cookies is a simple process. However, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure they turn out perfectly every time.
- Use high-quality butter. Since butter is the star ingredient in these cookies, it’s important to use a high-quality brand for the best flavour and texture.
- Chill the dough. Chilling the dough before baking helps to prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven. It also ensures that perfect crumbly texture.
- Roll out the dough evenly. To ensure that all your cookies bake evenly, it’s important to roll out the dough to an even thickness. Once you’ve achieved that, you can start cutting out your shapes.
Creative Ways to Enjoy Shortbread Cookies
Scottish shortbread cookies are delicious on their own. However, there are many creative ways to enjoy them beyond the traditional cookie form. Here are a few ideas to inspire your next shortbread adventure:
- Dipped in chocolate: Dip your shortbread cookies in melted chocolate for an extra decadent treat.
- Sandwiched with jam or dulce de leche: Spread your favourite jam or dulce de leche between two cookies for a sweet sandwich.
- Topped with fruit: Top your cookies with fresh fruit, like strawberries or blueberries, for a light and refreshing dessert.
- Used as a crust: Crush up shortbread cookies and use them as a crust for pies or cheesecakes for a buttery twist on your favourite dessert.
Variations in flavour
Scottish shortbread cookies are not only delicious but also incredibly versatile. You can add a variety of different flavours to your shortbread dough. Such include the zest of different citrus, coffee and spices, or even lavender. You can decorate your cookies with icing, chocolate drizzle, or even edible flowers for a beautiful presentation. They’re perfect for any occasion. If you want to impress guests at a party, they are a guaranteed success. If you’re looking for a sweet treat for your daily tea or coffee, they are definitely your best option.
Easy shortbread cookies
One of the great things about Scottish shortbread cookies is how easy they are to make. With only a few simple ingredients, you can have a batch of delicious cookies ready to enjoy in no time. Plus, the dough can be made ahead of time and frozen. You can freeze it for up to a month, so you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you want. You can freeze them already cut into shapes or just rolled out between two sheets of parchment paper. Shortbread cookies are also a great activity to do with kids, as they can help with cutting out the shapes.
Savoury shortbread cookies
If you’re looking for a different twist on traditional Scottish shortbread cookies, you can try making a savoury version. These cookies are made with the same buttery dough as their sweet counterpart. Of course, you remove the sugar. You can also add herbs, spices and even grated cheese. They make a delicious addition to a cheese board or can be enjoyed as a savoury snack on their own. Plus, they’re a great option for those who don’t really enjoy sweet treats.
Le Cookie World
If you’re looking for more cookies that yield that buttery crumbly texture, look no further. Here go a few of my favourite recipes:
Shortbread Cookies Recipe (better than Walker’s)
For the shortbread cookies
- 225 g unsalted butter
- 65 g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- ⅓ tsp vanilla extract or essence
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Mix the butter, icing sugar, salt and vanilla extract using an electric mixer or a whisk until it's nice and fluffy. Remember to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom every once in a while if using a stand mixer.
- Mix in the flour using a spatula.
- Roll it to 5mm in between two sheets of baking paper. Chill for 1-2 hours or until firm.
- Remove from the fridge and cut into 2x5cm rectangles. Place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat. Use a skewer to poke small holes on the surface. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180℃/350℉ for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden