This easy shortbread cookie recipe makes picture-perfect cookies that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sprinkled with sugar and dipped in chocolate, they have a sweet and buttery flavor that’s totally irresistible. Plus, they keep for weeks!
There’s never an inappropriate time to make shortbread cookies. They’re quick and easy enough for a last-minute dessert, but you can also dress them up and turn them into a festive holiday treat. This recipe makes classic shortbread cookies with a chocolate twist!
I love how long these cookies can be stored for. It really comes in handy when you have a bunch of Christmas desserts to eat your way through. It also makes them a wonderful gift option – one that’s easy and inexpensive, yet full of homemade charm. With their vanilla flavor and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth texture, these chocolate-covered cookies will be a hit!
This dessert has a short and simple ingredient lineup, in true shortbread cookie fashion. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Unsalted Butter: Brought to room temperature.
- Powdered Sugar: This is what makes the cookies melt in your mouth.
- Salt: To balance out the sweetness.
- Vanilla Extract: Be sure to use a high-quality extract for the best flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: For structure.
- Sugar: Sprinkling some sugar over your shortbread cookies helps them develop that crisp exterior.
- Chocolate Candiquick (Optional): Or another melting chocolate of choice. You’ll need 4-6 ounces, depending on whether or not you’d like to add chocolate to every cookie.
Can I use salted butter to make this recipe?
Yes, but make sure you omit the extra salt in the recipe or your cookies will be too salty. I usually prefer to use unsalted butter in baking because different brands of butter have different amounts of sodium. Using unsalted butter allows you to add the salt separately and therefore get more consistent results.
You don’t have to spend a bunch of time or effort on these cookies. Preparation takes just a few minutes, and the dough only needs to chill for half an hour!
Make the Cookies
- Beat Butter & Sugar: Beat the butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
- Add Salt & Vanilla: Mix in the salt and vanilla extract.
- Add Flour: Slowly add in the flour and mix until the dough is well combined.
- Chill: Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake.
- Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Roll Out Dough: Roll out the dough until it’s slightly less than half an inch thick. You may need to let it come to room temperature first. I don’t use flour or anything to roll out the dough – I just roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper.
- Shape & Dock: Cut the cookies into shapes of your desired size (I make mine 1×3-inch rectangles). Use a toothpick to poke holes in each cookie.
What does dock mean? When you dock cookies or a pie crust, it means that you are pricking the dough to add little holes. This allows steam to escape during the baking process and results in a more evenly baked treat.
- Add Sugar: Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of sugar onto each cookie.
- Bake: Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. Refrigerate additional cookies until the first batch is baked. If your cookies are thicker than I make mine, you may need to bake them for longer.
- Let Cool: Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Add the Chocolate
- Melt Chocolate: Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, mixing after each interval and reducing the microwave time as needed so the chocolate doesn’t burn. If you have a candy melting pot, you can use that instead.
- Add to Cookies: Once the chocolate is melted and the cookies have cooled completely, drizzle the chocolate over your cookies. Alternatively, you can dip each cookie halfway into the melted chocolate.
- Let Set: Place the cookies onto a sheet of parchment paper and allow the chocolate to set.
Listed below are a few important tips to keep in mind when you’re whipping up these classic cookies. Be sure to give them a read!
- Use Room Temperature Butter: If your butter is cold, you won’t be able to properly combine it with the other ingredients. Set it out on the counter a couple of hours before you start making your dough. If you cut the butter up, it will soften more quickly.
- Don’t Forget to Dock: Poking small holes into your cookies with a toothpick allows the steam to escape from them as they bake. This is known as docking, and it helps your cookies hold their shape. It also adds to the classic shortbread look.
- Do I Really Have to Chill the Dough? Yes. For several reasons. One, the chilling process stabilizes the butter, which prevents spreading from occurring. Two, the dough is far easier to work with after chilling. Three, the moisture sets in the dry ingredients and gives a more tender cookie.
- Keep the Second Batch Refrigerated: If you’re unable to bake all 20 cookies at once, remember to keep the second batch in the fridge while the first one is in the oven. This ensures that the cookies will not spread as much.
- Roll the Dough Out between Parchment Paper: This way you don’t add extra flour. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and it’s far less messy and things don’t stick.
Shortbread cookies can go from classic to creative in tons of different ways. If you want to add some more spunk than a little melted chocolate, check out the variations below!
- Add Pecans: Chopped and toasted pecans make a lovely addition to these shortbread cookies. They add a nice crunch and tons of flavor! You can also use another toasted nut of choice.
- Use a Different Extract: If you’d like to infuse your cookies with a flavor other than vanilla, simply switch up the extract you use. Almond and lemon are both great options!
- Add Sprinkles: Adding festive sprinkles to your shortbread dough is a simple way to dress up these cookies for Christmas or another holiday. You could also sprinkle them onto the chocolate before it sets.
- Make Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies: If you really want to go all out with the Christmas spirit, I recommend making my easy Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can tell shortbread cookies are done baking by their color. They will just be starting to change color on the bottom of each cookie. They’ll be just slightly darker than they were before you started baking them, but not golden.
Shortbread cookies are a bit less sweet, require fewer ingredients, and have a denser texture because they don’t have a leavening agent like baking soda or baking powder. Sugar cookies are more of an American thing, but shortbread cookies are a popular treat across the globe!
These cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature once the chocolate has set completely. They’ll last that way for up to a week.
If you’d like to store them for a few extra days, you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Let them warm up to room temperature before eat them.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes – if desired, you can freeze your shortbread cookies for up to a month. Place them in a freezer-safe container or a storage bag with all the air squeezed out. If your cookies are covered in chocolate, I recommend layering them between pieces of parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking.
Thaw out frozen shortbread cookies in the fridge before serving them. Bring them to room temperature before enjoying.Print
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 20
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Scottish
These shortbread cookies are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with that classic sweet and buttery flavor. Sprinkled with sugar and dipped in chocolate.
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar, for sprinkling
- 4–6 oz chocolate candiquick (or similar baking/melting chocolate)
- Sprinkles, optional
Make the Cookies
- Beat the butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
- Add the salt and vanilla extract and until well combined.
- Slowly add in the flour and mix until the dough is well combined. Don’t over mix.
- Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Roll out the dough until it’s slightly less than half an inch thick. You may need to let it come to room temperature first. I roll mine out between two pieces of parchment paper, which are non-stick and don’t require using additional flour.
- Cut the cookies into shapes of your desired size (I make mine 1×3-inch rectangles). Use a toothpick to score the cookies.
- Sprinkle a little sugar onto each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until done but not golden. Refrigerate additional cookies until the first batch is baked. If your cookies are thicker than I make mine, you may need to bake them for longer.
- Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Add the Chocolate (Optional)
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, mixing after each interval, until melted and smooth.
- Dip each cookie halfway into the melted chocolate, then add some sprinkles, if desired.
- Place the cookies onto a sheet of parchment and allow the chocolate to set.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 135
- Sugar: 8.7 g
- Sodium: 30.1 mg
- Fat: 7.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 16.3 g
- Protein: 1.4 g
- Cholesterol: 15.3 mg
Keywords: shortbread cookies, christmas cookies, butter cookies
Every celebration deserves a decadent batch of cookies. The following recipes will have everyone crowding around the dessert table!
- Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookie Cups
- Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies
- No Bake Salted Caramel Coconut Macaroons
- Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches
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I would love to make these but only have cake flour in hand, would it be alright to use that instead?
I’ve never used it in cookies before so I can’t say how it’ll turn out, but you could try it.
All your recipes are so delicious! I am GF and substitute my GF flour blend to make my treats!