Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grandma's Shortbread Cookies

Every year we make Shortbread Cookies for Christmas.  We always use my Grandmother's recipe which is about as simple as you can get.  It calls for:
1 lb butter (2 cups)
1 cup light brown sugar
5 cups flour
pinch salt
You have to kneed all the ingredients into a ball - which is a lot of work, but totally worth it.   If you happen to have teenagers this is where they come in handy.   Once the dough holds together into a ball then it is ready to be rolled out.  The cookies work best when they are on the slightly thick side - about 1 cm thick (between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch).  

Then the fun begins.  You stamp out the cookies and put them on cookie trays.

These are some of the many, many cookie cutters we have collected over the years.  All the ones with serrated edges come from my Grandmother along with the circle and the odd little gingerbread at the bottom of the photo.

Kate and her friend made all the cookies which meant they were beautifully and carefully decorated.  The rest of us just sprinkle a few decorations on and call it a day.  Not Kate and her friend - they created masterpieces.

Once the shortbread are decorated they get baked in a moderate oven (350F) till they are light brown on the edges (watch them carefully as you don't want to overcook them).

You can tell it is an old recipe as it just refers to a moderate oven.  I remember as a child asking what a moderate oven was and my Father told me that with a wood stove if you can hold your hand in for only one second it is a hot oven, for two seconds it is moderate, and for three seconds it is a cool oven.  We used to have a wood stove at the cottage and I would use that as my temperature gauge - it really does work.

I've hidden the prettiest ones away in the freezer to keep until Christmas dinner. Yum!

Linked to Inspiration Friday party at Southern in my Heart
Show and Share Day at Just a Girl 
Holly Bloggy Christmas at Simply Sweet Home
All Things Merry and Brite at All Things Heart and Home


  1. Great simple recipe. I'm copying it down right now! It seems like it would make a ton of cookies. I'm going to bring some of these to Christmas dinner next week too!

  2. I have a similar recipe - sugar cookies from my Aunt Virginia. I roll them out "fat" and love to dunk in coffee...

  3. Now these look like something I could do...and not mess up! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think some of the best recipes are the ones with the fewest ingredients. These look really good!

  5. I've been making shortbread for years and love it. My recipe is alot different though. Mine calls for icing sugar and cornstarch. I was going to make them and had no cornstarch. I sent' my hubby to the store for the cornstarch and he brought back baking soda! (yOu think he has too much on his mind lol ?) anyways thanks for this new recipe I am going to use it especially since i don't need the cornstarch! I really like this one also because you can use it to cut out the cookies !
    I have the identical star cookie cutter as you!

  6. Thanks, Grace! I think I could actually handle this recipe. I appreciate your sharing it with us :D

  7. I don't think I've ever made shortbread cookies for cut-outs, only sugar cookies. I always liked Lorna Doone cookies as a kid, so I would imagine these would be even better. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe. ~ Sue

  8. What a great idea to use shortbread for cut-out cookies instead of regular sugar dough! Thank you so much for linking this up to Inspiration Friday!
    Merry Christmas,