Scottish Shortbread Cookies

‘Tis the season to bake cookies for Christmas. Here’s a recipe for Scottish shortbread cookies. These buttery-delicious cookies have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture and are very easy to make with common ingredients. The beauty of it is that you can vary the taste of these shortbread cookies by adding different flavors. I like to use vanilla, but other options include lemon or lavender extract. Also, you can sprinkle white sugar on top, or add a festive touch with red sugar sprinkles or another color. I’ve always been a fan of shortbread cookies–perhaps it’s due in part to my mostly-Scottish heritage. No matter what your background is, I hope that you enjoy baking–and eating–these as much as I do.

Scottish Shortbread


2 ½ sticks butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla (or other flavoring such as lemon or lavender extract)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cornstarch (or rice flour)

¼ cup white sugar (or colored sugar sprinkles)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine butter, powdered sugar, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in flour and cornstarch, and beat until well-blended.

Press the dough into a 13” x 9” baking pan. Pierce the dough all over with a fork to make a decorative design; this allows the melting butter to release steam, thereby preventing the dough from puffing up. Bake until crust is a light golden color, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; take a knife and cut through the dough to make cookie bars. Sprinkle the white (or colored) sugar all over the top. Place back in oven and continue baking for 5 more minutes. Remove the baking pan to a rack and allow the cookie bars to cool until slightly warm. Makes 2 dozen cookie bars.