The best cookies start with a great basic recipe like this Simple Crunchy Shortbread.
If you like crunchy cookies, you’ll love this twice baked shortbread.
Best of all, classic shortbread is an easy to remember ratio of 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter and one part sugar. For extra flavor and crunch, we’re going to add vanilla, salt and a sprinkling of raw sugar.
Vegan or Dairy Free:
Use vegan butter
Try using 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix + 1/2 cup rice flour or cornstarch for a tender shortbread bar.
- Top baked bars with a sprinkling of raw sugar or mix either citrus zest or cinnamon with white sugar.
- Dip cooked shortbread bars in melted chocolate.
- Before baking, mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite dried fruits, nuts or candies.
- Savory version: reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons and add 1/2 cup dry cheese like parmesan + a handful of finely chopped rosemary or Italian herbs.
- Check out my savory shortbread recipe for more ideas.
- Use as a pie or tart dough
- Freeze leftover baked shortbread crumbles. Use as a base or topping for ice creams, yogurts and puddings.
- Refrigerate unbaked shortbread crumbles. Use as a crumble base or topping for fruit cobblers, cakes and muffins.
Use a tart pan, half sheet pan or brownie pan (9 x 13) lined with parchment. No rolling or chilling required.
No eggs in the dough means no need to refrigerate. Just pat the dough into the pan, smooth with your fingers and an offset spatula ( or a flat spatula) and rest the dough at room temperature for 2 – 24 hours.
Be patient. Like bread, the longer this dough rests, the flakier and finer textured the cookie.
Cut into wedges, squares or bars and bake another 15 minutes.
Large or small?
Cut larger wedges and squares with a knife or use a small biscuit or cookie cutter for smaller squares.
Take time now before the crazy fall and winter holidays to practice your favorite shapes and flavorings.
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Serves: 36 large or 60 + small
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and warm (8 oz/226 gm)
- *1/2 cup sugar (3½ oz/90 gm)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt or a few pinches of flaky sea salt
- 2 cups flour (10 oz/284 gm)
- Optional toppings:
- raw sugar
- white sugar mixed with citrus zest or spice like cinnamon
- chocolate melting discs for decorating cookies
- Mix ins before baking: ½ - 1 cup chopped dried fruit, nuts or candy
- *for a less sweet cookie use less sugar
- In a medium bowl, mix together melted warm butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and stir just until flour disappears. (The dough should have the consistency of clumped, wet sand.) Pat dough into prepared pan. Use an offset spatula or plastic spatula to smooth the dough evenly across top, sides and into corners of pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest between 2 - 24 hours. (The longer, the better.)
- Adjust oven rack to lower third of oven and preheat to 300 F. Grease a 9 x 13 brownie pan or half sheet pan and line with parchment.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake shortbread 45 minutes.
- While cookies bake, grease and line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Remove cookies from oven but keep oven on at 300 F.
- Lightly spread the surface of shortbread with raw or flavored sugar if using. Cool 15 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or cookie/biscuit cutter, slice into squares, rectangles or wedges and place on the lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.
- When completely cool, dip any plain cookies in chocolate, if desired.
- Place cooled cookies in a covered container. Cookies will last up to two weeks or more.
- The amount of cookies will depend on the size you make them.
- Makes about 36 large wedges or 60 + small (1 - 2 inch square) cookies.
- Prep and cook time does not include resting time.