Shortbread Cookies

by Renee on August 28, 2012

Shortbread Cookies

Sometimes you just want a simple cookie. At least I know I do. A change of pace from all chips, nuts, oats, and fruit is nice. A basic cookie with a buttery flavor is good for any occasion. I had the craving for a simple cookie recently. I wanted something like shortbread but not as dense. I looked around and decided I would try adding cornstarch to a recipe and make my own version of shortbread cookies.

What was the result? Exactly what I wanted. These cookies are lighter in texture than your typical shortbread one. They are also a little thinner which gives them a certain crispiness without being crunchy. I used European-style butter which gave them the most incredible butter flavor. It also helped with the texture too. There is something to be said for the extra butter fat when it comes to baking.

Shortbread is an easy recipe. It only has a few ingredients and the most basic is butter, flour, and sugar. My recipe has the addition of vanilla for flavor, salt because it helps bring out the flavors, and cornstarch for texture. It is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe on the Food Network website. Ina has many great recipes and she always makes it look so simple to cook. Plus I love the scenes of her garden in her TV show. It is filled with incredibly beautiful flowers, herbs, and plants.

What kind of cookie do you enjoy the most? Do you bake your own or buy them in the store? I admit I do both. The homemade ones are the best though.

Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Shortbread Cookies

  • 3/4 pound European-style unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until flour is incorporated. Do not over-mix. Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted with flour. Shape the dough into two round disks about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Using 1 dough disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick. Cut cookies using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Transfer cut cookies to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and wait 1 minute before transferring cookies to a cooling rack. Allow the baking sheet to cool completely between batches. Store cookies in a sealed container.


You can gather up excess dough after cutting the cookies, shape into another disk, and roll out for more cookies. Refrigerate dough if it becomes too soft.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen @ Juanita's Cocina August 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

These are my favorite cookies! So simple yet so divine!


Toby @ Plate Fodder August 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

Cookies (of any stripe) and me have never been friends. That exact balance of sugar – shortening – flavor just never works out.
Now, shortbread… that’s a cookie I can get behind! no 50 ingredients, no voluminous list of instructions.. just the perfect simple buttery crunch.
(and I’ve got a pound of very orange mountain butter I’ve been itching to do something with)


CJ at Food Stories August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

These look so good … I was just looking at shortbread cookies, last night, and pondering all the options … Great Job :-)


Terry August 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

I bet these would take one of those adorable stamp designs well.


Renee August 29, 2012 at 9:41 am

The dough is a little too soft for the stamps. Unfortunately the design would disappear during baking.


Terry B Gardner (@tbgdesign) August 29, 2012 at 11:41 am


Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie August 28, 2012 at 10:13 am

I ♥ shortbread cookies! It’s a cookie my whole family loves. :)


Kimberly Murray August 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

Mmm…I love shortbread cookies, and those look delicious! I haven’t baked in a while. Now, I feel like getting back in the kitchen.


Susan August 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

Out of all the cookies available, I still love a classic shortbread. Now granted, I’ll never turn away a fresh, hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookie, but there is something comforting about the buttery taste of a shortbread cookie.


Renee August 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

I agree, those hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookies certainly are wonderful and I have had my share (and a few other people’s shares too). Next time I make these shortbread cookies I am thinking about making a sandwich type with Nutella or some kind of chocolate frosting.


Jennie @themessybakerblog August 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

I love shortbread! I think I love it so much because they’re full of butter, and we all know that butter makes everything better. I love that you made these lighter by adding cornstarch. Genius!


Renee August 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

Thanks Jennie! I really did like the texture by adding the cornstarch. It was amazing what a difference it made.


Katherine G August 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

I love a simple cookie. These look delicious.


Joan@Chocolateandmore August 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

I love a good shortbread cookie, perfect with a cup of coffee!


Liz August 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Such a classic. I love that you used European butter….mmmmmm.


Anita at Hungry Couple August 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I love shortbread and have actually been meaning to make Ina Garten’s recipe. Maybe when I have, I’ll try your variation and see which one I like better.


LC December 19, 2012 at 3:32 am

How much is 3/4 pounds in cups measurements?


Renee December 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

3/4 pounds of butter would be 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)


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