The shortbread cookie is a deliciously crunchy, buttery shortbread biscuit that is an iconic Scottish treat. It’s also one of the most difficult cookies to make, with many recipes calling for hours of laborious preparation and delicate handling. Thankfully, our recipe makes short work of it by using cold ingredients and cutting out all the fuss! Follow these simple steps to create the perfect shortbread cookie texture every time.
Use Butter for Binding and Flavor
Shortbread is a short-biscuit, and shortness comes from the lack of gluten in the dough. Gluten gives bread its chewiness and cakes their soft sponginess — so we avoid it by using cold butter instead of flour to bind our shortbread together. The natural oils in the butter add flavor, too!
Don’t Forget the Salt!
Salt shortens gluten development, so it helps keep shortbread cookies short too. It also enhances the sweetness and gives your shortbread cookie texture that classic buttery flavor we all know and love. Just remember to use good quality salt — table salt will taste flat by comparison!
Bake Low and Slow
Crisp shortbread cookies are notorious for burning on the edges while remaining soggy in the middle. This is because shortbread needs to bake at a low temperature for longer than most other types of biscuits or cookies. You’ll know your shortbread cookie texture is done when it starts to turn golden brown at the edges. Let the shortbread cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack — this will give it time to solidify and crisp up!
Parchment or Silicone?
Shortbread cookies need to be baked on a flat surface; if you use a baking tray with raised sides, your shortbread will end up sitting in its own melted butter and won’t bake evenly. Parchment paper is ideal for shortbread because it helps distribute heat more evenly without sticking to the shortbread. If you prefer silicone, make sure it’s uncoated so your shortbread can crisp up properly.
Use Cold Ingredients for Texture
Cold shortbread dough is easy to handle and simple to roll out. The cold ingredients also help keep the butter in a solid-state, which means that it takes longer for the shortbread texture to heat up during baking! This makes sure your shortbread remains nice and crunchy.
Shortbread is very sensitive to heat and will change texture quickly if it gets too hot. This means that shortbread cookies can go from perfectly crunchy to totally soft in just a few minutes, so be sure to check on your shortbread every couple of minutes after baking for the perfect shortbread cookie texture.
Ultimate shortbread should be short, crumbly, and buttery. To make your shortbread extra short (in the biscuit sense) you’ll need to use a technique called lamination. Lamination is simply folding the dough over itself to add layers of flavor and texture! For our shortbread recipe, we laminate the dough by rolling it out, folding it in three, rotating the dough 90 degrees, and repeating.
We then roll the shortbread dough out a final time and cut it into perfect shortbread cookies!
For short, crumbly shortbread that’s packed full of flavor you can add in your favorite extras. Nuts or dried fruit are traditional shortbread cookie ingredients, but there is no reason not to experiment with different flavors – who doesn’t love shortbread cookies with a hint of chocolate?
Shortbread is best enjoyed when it comes to room temperature. Store your shortbread in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze your shortbread if you want to make it last longer. You can also use shortbread cookie cutters.
How to Make Shortbread Cookies Crispier?
Shortbread cookies should be short and crumbly, but not tough! If you want them crispier, try using less flour when making shortbread. Remember that shortbread is best enjoyed when it’s room temperature or warmed slightly in the oven – don’t microwave your shortbread cookies.
Mix it All Together
Adding the dry ingredients to your shortbread dough is a careful balancing act. You want just enough flour to bring everything together, but if you add too much, shortbread becomes tough and crumbly instead of short and crumbly. We recommend using a fork or pastry blender for this step — both tools help cut the butter into the flour without overmixing.
Shortbread Cookie Texture Makes 12 shortbread cookies
Ingredients: 100g (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened 50g (¼ cup) caster sugar a pinch of salt 150g (⅔ cup) plain flour Method: Preheat oven to 110°C. Beat the butter in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and flour. Mix until combined.
Roll into a log shape around 20cm long and wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap to hold its shape as it chills. Refrigerate for an hour before baking shortbread cookies for 15 minutes on a lined tray at 110°C (230°F). Allow shortbread cookie texture to cool completely before removing shortbread from parchment paper.
Shortbread Cookies Tips!
- Shortbread cookies should be served with tea or coffee, ideally around 11 am – don’t eat shortbread after dinner as it’s too filling!
- If you are left with any shortbread cookie dough at the end of your baking session, wrap it up and save it for another day — shortbread dough keeps very well in the fridge.
- Shortbread should be stored in an airtight container to keep dry and crisp (and not get smooshy like some cookies).
Enjoy Your Crunchy Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread is best enjoyed shortly after coming out of the oven, while its texture is still crunchy. If you don’t plan on eating shortbread straight away, you might be better off making some other type of biscuit. Shortbread can get soggy if left out for too long!
That’s it! Follow these simple steps to create the perfect shortbread cookie texture every time – not just crunchy but also delicious and buttery. Make short work of it by using cold ingredients and cutting out all the fuss!
Should Shortbread be Crunchy or Soft?
Shortbread should be short (in the biscuit sense) but crumbly, not soft like sugar cookies. The shortbread cookie texture should melt in your mouth!
Why are my Shortbread Cookies Chewy?
If shortbread cookies have too much flour, they will be chewy. Make sure you don’t add so much that the dough feels tough and dry to touch – shortbread should feel soft!
Should Shortbread Cookies be Soft Out of the Oven?
Shortbread cookies that are soft out of the oven will be shortbread cookies that have too much flour. Shortbread should feel crumbly to touch, but not tough!