Really Perfect Shortbread

When it comes to shortbread, I’m a purest. I don’t really pander to things IN shortbread other than butter, sugar, flour and salt. I don’t even like it dipped in chocolate! I’m weird, I know. But there’s just something reverent in those 4 ingredients that come together into a perfect, crisp, buttery biscuit that I would choose over a chocolate chip cookie every time. Something that shouldn’t really be messed with.

The standard by which I hold all shortbread to is Walker’s Shortbread, made in Scotland. This is where the recipe originated, and no one does it quite like them. For the past two years, I’ve been chasing that white rabbit, trying to replicate their recipe. I’m not there yet. I posted a pretty good try just after Big Summer Potluck, along with two other cookies that I took with me to that event.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of trial and error. I’ve looked at hundreds of shortbread recipes. I think I’m closer to Walker’s than ever before. So now I’m giving it to you. I want to know what you think of this recipe. I want to know what your sweetheart thinks of this recipe. Baked in a heart-shaped shortbread mold, it’s a perfect homemade gift for Valentine’s Day.


  1. Scott says

    Do you any ideas on what can be substituted for a shortbread mold? (for those of us that don’t own any). There is a vendor at a local Scottish Games that does shortbread bites in finger tip sized morsels. Is this recipe enough to fill a 1/4 sheet pan? Could it be cut just after baking?

  2. says

    I’ve never made my own shortbread before, so I definitely want to try your recipe! I just love them baked into those little heart shapes!

  3. says

    I love the buttery richness of shortbread, I’ve been on the quest for the perfect recipe for ages too, so I’m excited to try your recipe! I’m afraid that I’m not quite as much of a shortbread purist, I’ll take mine dipped in chocolate too! But then again I’ll pretty much take anything dipped in chocolate :-)

  4. says

    Have you also considered the method of making the shortbread? I met a Scottish woman over the summer who told me she makes it only by hand..and only when the weather is much cooler than it was this summer! In the Fall, she brought me some. It was very different from mine. Very crumbly and a little on the dry side. But I’ve heard Scottish shortbread is different from what we in the states think of as shortbread. I’ll have to give your a try! Thanks

  5. says

    If you’re striving to make a traditional Scottish shortbread, it HAS to have rice flour in it. My family is Scottish and our recipe has been passed down 4 generations and I’ve never tasted anything better!

  6. says

    Am eating your recipe now! Tried to be as true as possible to your recipe because, after all, it’s an experiment, right? I think you are onto something. I wouldn’t have thought to use confectioner’s sugar and I think that’s a cool trick. Also grateful for your warning to let cool only slightly, flip over on a cutting board and then cut it before it cools too much–a huge help, because these babies can be crumbly. Next time, I think I’ll increase the sugar slightly to 1/2 cup (I know Walker’s is low sugar but just a smidgen more would be good) and increase the butter from 3/4 cup to one cup. I’ll let you know if that does it. You are definitely very close to Walker’s!

  7. Michelle whisker says

    Im using british measurements. Is a c in your recipes a cup? Ive never heard of it before.

  8. Vickie says

    Recently tried Walker’s shortbread because they were out of the one I normally buy. Walker’s was delicious with only a handful of ingredients . The other had a ton of ingredients and calories to boot.
    Can’t wait to try your recipe.Thanks! VG

  9. Michelle whisker says

    Think the cups used in this recipe arent british cups. i followed the measurements exactly but when i mixed in the mixer it didnt resemble breadcrumbs at all!! more like gloopy wallpaper paste. V disappointed. Went in bin. Will have to sit and translate it into a british recipe and try it again.

  10. Amrita says

    I tried your recipe as I love the starbucks cookies!
    But I think the cookies suffered from too much butter and were too crumbly.
    I am not sure if this was because my cookie-thickness was different from yours or because I used part millet flour.
    Either way they did not turn out right :(
    Will try again :)

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