Monday, December 9, 2013

Shortbread Cookies

This post is from last year and I can tell you right now it is very likely it will be repeated every year! We love these cookies! They are unlike any we've had. Hope you will love them too!

 Dear Lauren,

Shortbread cookies. We can't do Christmas at our house without them. We make these cookies every year. Everyone loves them, and Christmas is not complete unless several dozen are made and consumed by us, several more dozen made and given away to friends and neighbors. They melt in your mouth and they cannot be mailed no matter how carefully they’re wrapped. Too delicate.

Now, I didn't realize this, since I grew up with these cookies, but most people associate shortbread with something that is very different from what our family makes. Yet the ingredients are very similar. In fact, when my friend Louise ate some, she later wrote about them and said, "These are not shortbreads. They are delicate whispers of angels. I've never had a cookie literally dissolve on my tongue like these." 

This is a recipe my mother learned in a cooking class in British Columbia as a young woman. I actually had no idea where the recipe came from until I was asked a few years ago and I asked! I’d always assumed this was a recipe handed down through the ages from my Canadian mother, her Swiss mother, and so on. My mom will tell you the secret to this recipe is “all in the whipping”. The instructions include whipping for 10 minutes. If you have a Kitchen Aid, just set a timer. Otherwise, take turns with each arm, or with any people who happen to be close by, holding the hand mixer so your arm doesn't get tired! Don't skimp - you MUST whip for 10 minutes!

1 cup butter (room temperature)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cups flour
candied cherries or nuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip for 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the whipping, it’s the secret to the cookie. Place the dough on an ungreased (I use parchment paper!) cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. The cookies will end up being about 1 ½ inches in diameter so use that as a guide for how much dough to drop on the sheet. Place in oven for 10 minutes. The cookies retain their white appearance so don’t overbake them. Let them cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. This helps them to keep their shape; they are delicate and break easily.

Personally, I think these cookies just don’t taste right unless there is a quartered red candied cherry on top. I can’t stand these cherries in any other recipe on Earth, but they taste great on shortbread. If you choose to put cherries or nuts on your cookies, do so before they go into the oven.


P.S. Do you know why there aren't very many cookies in the photo? Dad. Enough said.
P.P.S. I have red cherries. When are you coming over?


  1. I will try tomorrow! Thanks for the Inspiration! I like your Photos, and your Text is really Fun to read! Dunja from Germany

    1. Thank you so much, Dunja! I hope you like these cookies as much as we do!

  2. Just made these. Wow. Incredible. Have a feeling I'm going to be making a few dozen of these babies. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    1. Yay! So glad you like them! We always have a lot of butter on hand in December to make these!