Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread

December 19, 2011

If you were reading this blog last Christmas you may recall my post on Shortbread cookies.  I absolutely love shortbread and love finding a *new to me* recipe to try each year.  Some of you may also recall a post I did back in September of 2010 about a very special young couple.  Turns out that my shortbread recipe for this year came from Rebecca who shared her mother’s recipe with her readers at her site A Little Bit of Momsense.  Rebecca cuts Christmas tree shapes from her shortbread dough and  together with her two children, they enjoy decorating their cookies.

Me…I just wanted the unadorned all butter taste so I did not decorate, not even with cut cherries and believe me when I tell you that these cookies literally melt in your mouth….seriously, you don’t even have to chew them.  I love this recipe!!!

 I followed Rebecca’s recipe and only added one teeny ingredient to it (*).

Melt in Your Mouth Shortbread (from A Little Bit of Momsense)

1 cup of butter (I always use salted butter but it’s a matter of personal choice)

1/2 cup of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar – updated 11/21/2012 due to comments & emails rec’d)

1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour

1/2 cup of corn starch

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (*)

I cut my butter into thin slices directly from the fridge and then beat it with my stand mixer.  Using cold butter prevents having to chill the dough.

Beat the butter until smooth but not creamy.  You don’t want to over beat it.  When smooth, add your icing sugar and cream together.  In a smaller bowl I had combined the flour and the cornstarch and whisked them together before adding to the butter and icing sugar mixture.  As the beaters are combining the flour mixture with the butter mixture, I added the vanilla.  Don’t over mix your dough, just mix on 2nd speed until all combined.

Then I scraped down the bowl and formed a beautiful buttery ball of shortbread cookie dough.

No matter the size of my cookie dough ball, I always cut in quarters and roll out one quarter at a time.  I’ve always done that and even though I know it would be a time saver to roll out a larger portion at a time, force of habit and superstition prevents me from doing so :)

I used two fluted cutters, both 1 3/4″ wide and I roll my dough 5/16″ inches thick.  I chilled the cut cookies in the freezer for a few minutes before baking.  As you fill one pan, place in the freezer while you cut another pan full.

By the time the second pan is ready, it’s time to remove the one from freezer and bake!  I baked each tray of cookies for 12 minutes at 300°

I could hardly wait for these to cool before trying them but I did and they were worth the wait.  This is going to be my go-to recipe for rolled shortbread cookies.  I wasn’t sure how many one batch would yield.  With the size of the cutters I used, I got 3 dozen cookies.  Not enough!  I’m baking another batch right after I finish this post.

Ella and her Mom are still baking the Whipped Shortbread recipe. They have been making it for years, just as I did.

Ella Baking Shortbread at Nanna’s 2007

They haven’t tasted this new recipe yet, wait until they do.  I’m sure they’ll be like me and decide that this will be among their go-to recipes every Christmas.  Thank you Rebecca for sharing yours with us.  By the way, Rebecca’s husband received the all clear from his Oncologist and he is now cancer free! :)

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Cookbook Queen December 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

These cookies look fabulous, I love shortbread and this recipe is bound to be exceptional.

And what great news from the oncologist!! Merry Christmas to your family and Rebecca’s family :)


Barbara | Creative Culinary December 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I love plain unadultered shortbread cookies too in all of their yummy buttery meltedness! I love that fluted square cutter…now have to find one. I have a whole set of round ones I just re-discovered but am pretty sure I never had square. Wish though.


Georgia December 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I have read a few recipes to put the cookies on their cookie sheet in the freezer to keep them from spreading. It seems like taking the sheet directly from the freezer to the hot oven would cause the cookie sheets to warp. Does it not ruin the cookie sheet?


Renee - Kudos Kitchen December 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Shortbread is my very favorite kind of cookie. I’m like you…a purist. It needs nothing. Your cookies look totally perfect!!! I’m glad you’ve decided to make a second batch because I’ll be right over! How cute is Ella? Just sayin’


trisha December 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm

CONGRATS and CHEERS to Rebecca’s hubby!!!!!!!!! That shortbread looks so good Paula, I can not even tell you how buttery delish and mouthwatering!!! I asked for this special shortbread pan for xmas that makes little teapots and teacup molds on the top of shortbreads…not sure if I am explaining it right but anyhoooo it is neat and I bet this recipe would be the BOMB!!! Thanks Paula!!!!!!!


Jenean December 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

I LOVE shortbread too. A few years ago I was judging a 4 h baking competition. The winner had made rosemary shortbread cookies. They were sooooooo good! Going to have to look for the recipe now.


Sharon Keeney December 20, 2011 at 2:20 am

These look delicious!!! I will have to try them.

Wonderful Holiday news for Rebecca’s family and friends!! Thanks for sharing their story!

Happy Holidays!


Mary December 20, 2011 at 8:58 am

What a wonderful shortbread. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I’m so glad I did that.I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary


Cheryl December 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Shortbread cookies are my favourites. I’ll have to try your recipe, for sure. Thank you for visiting my blog! I looked for a contact address on your blog but this was the best I could do. As you observed, we are neighbours. It is a very small world sometimes.

The smile on Ella’s face is priceless!


Cristin (Pinkie) of Cristin's Cookies December 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

So happy to hear that your friend is Cancer free. That is such a blessing. This recipe sounds super yummy! I’ll have to give it a try after the Christmas rush! Thanks for sharing!


Salad in a Jar December 21, 2011 at 8:55 am

We used to call these “Meltaways” because they melt in your mouth without chewing, just like you described. Usually, I have no hope of making my cookies look like yours but I think I can do this one. Merry Christmas!


Lora December 21, 2011 at 10:43 am

They look so pretty and perfect wrapped up with the ribbons. I would lov to find these in my stocking Christmas morning. Happy Holidays Paula. Wishing you everything wonderful this holiday season and beyond!


Kathia December 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies, yours look delicious! Wonderful news for Rebecca’s family.
Happy Holidays!


overtimecook December 22, 2011 at 12:48 am

Those look absolutely delicious Paula! I have been meaning to make shortbread cookies for a while!


Eftychia December 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I will definately give this recipe a try. I am sure that these cookies will be delicious!


Helene December 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

They turned out really nice, I should try this recipe also. Happy New Year!


tia December 23, 2011 at 2:09 am

mmm i bet these really WERE melt in your mouth – icing sugar and cornstarch – awesome!


tia December 23, 2011 at 2:09 am

i want to make these now!


Kelly @ JAX does design December 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm

This is almost exactly the same recipe as my mom’s recipe for Melting Moments. I think the quantities might be a bit different, and my mom always made her cookies by dropping spoonfuls of batter on the cookie sheet. I made a batch just a couple of days ago – they remind me of Christmas when I was a kid :-)


sweetsugarbelle December 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm

These look amazing! I can almost imagine the texture. And what beautiful cookies! I hope you enjoyed your holiday Paula! Lots of love to you and yours.


JulieD December 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I have to make these!!! Melt in your mouth?? Thanks for sharing!! Happy New Year, Paula!!!


diane costa August 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

what is icing sugar?


Karin September 10, 2012 at 9:01 am

I bet it is the same as powdered sugar as you use it to make icing. Plus, I’ve seen some other shortbread recipes that call for powdered sugar.


Rebecca September 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

it’s getting to that time of year when I start making this again!!! :)


Anne November 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

What is icing sugar?


Cathy November 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Short bread is the best, My husband loves it, I think I will be making this for sure.
Thanks for sharing:)


kate November 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

Any icing ideas?


Paula November 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I would love to try to make these cookies, but I need to know what “icing sugar” is so that I don’t mess up the recipe. Could someone email me and clarify for me what icing sugar is so that I can get going on making these delicious looking cookies, please? I sure would appreciate it.

Thanks so much,


Connie November 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

What is icing sugar? Can’t wait to try these


Donna November 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Like many others, I too would like to know what “icing sugar” is and where is it found in the grocery store, Thanks for sharing!


Kelly November 21, 2012 at 8:17 am

Icing sugar is confectioner’s sugar. I too was unsure, had to google it.


Kelly November 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Made these for the first time, super easy and yummy! Used a turkey-shaped cookie cutter for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


Jenni November 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I just want to say that I just made these and they are AMAZING!!!! The name is definitely fitting as the cookies literally melted in my mouth! I followed recipe and directions exactly and just used a regular round cookie cutter. Also, I lightly sprinkled some sugar on top before putting in the oven. This will become my go to shortbread recipe. Thank you!!


Raquel November 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm

So happy to have come across this recipe. I’ll be making these this Christmas. I was just wondering, does the recipe call for salted or unsalted butter?
Thank you so much.


Susan November 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

These look delicious and probably taste different to our Scottish Shortbread. I am going to make some! I think corn starch is the same thing as corn flour?


Connie Richins December 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I loved the cookies. But wished they made more. But they are yummy..I still double the batch and it just made 2 dozen…


Chrissy December 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Think I could out these in a cookie press? I’m really bad with a rolling pin!


Evie December 11, 2012 at 8:33 pm

These look amazing!! I’m not seeing where you said how much cream to add. Did I miss that?


Patti December 13, 2012 at 5:01 am

There is no cream Evie she is referring to creaming the butter and sugar together.


Katie Roberts December 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

I just made these, and they are awesome. Just curious for those who have made them… Do you think they need a pinch of salt in the dough?? Has anyone tried to add a little salt? As delishious as they are, they seem to be missing a little something.


Tracie December 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I’ve tried making them twice and my dough is powdery! I don’t have a mixer stand so I am using a hand mixer, could that be why?? Am i supposed to add water to corn starch??? Something isn’t right, I’ve followed the recipe twice and cant get dough.


Erin April 7, 2013 at 12:10 am

No Water Necessary, If Your Dough Is Powdery, Just Knead It By Hand, It Should Come Together Beautifully.


Malynda December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am

Oh My Stars!!! I just made them exactly like the recipe. First batch is out and she’s right. They melt in your mouth ! Perfect! This one is a keeper!


Tammy December 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I made these just today! i used a water glass to cut circles. and took a clean rubber stamp and stamped each cookie with snowflakes before placing in the freezer. They are even more adorable!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!


Teri December 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I made these & thought they tasted powdery…didn’t like them at…reminder me of eating powder ….:(


Sharon December 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for this recipe! It’s so delicious and really does melt in your mouth. I found I should have chilled the dough before using a cookie cutter on it though. I ended up rolling it into balls and squishing with a fork and they turned out great. Next time I make it I’ll chill the dough and use a pretty cookie cutter though :-)


Betsy December 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

Sounds delish! I wonder what it would taste like with Almond extract instead of the vanilla?? I might have to try it and see.


samantha January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

i tried baking these withmy sister ! the batter we just had to try ! it was delicious!! im saving this recipe! i cant wait tillthey get out of the oven !!


Sarah January 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

Good for you for adding vanilla! Whenever a recipe does not have vanilla, I correct the error immediately ;)


andi winslow February 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Hi just stopping over to let you know that I made these wonderful cookies and have posted them on my blog for Valentine’s Day Thank you so much Andi


Keisha February 11, 2013 at 2:26 am

Could we use cake flour instead on unbleached flour and cornstartch?


sharon February 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

just made this..horrible…dough to dry…oven not hot enough..and tasted like flour..if you want really good shortbread cookies go to food network…ina…her cookies the the best..dont waste your time with these..


isabel March 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Hello. I want to do this cookies but i have a questions. Is a cup of butter the same as 2 sticks???? Thank you 4 your answer


Joanne Boor March 17, 2013 at 12:13 am

I’ve been looking for a good standard shortbread cookie recipe. This is it. Thank you


I wud rather nit say September 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

You didn’t mention cream in the ingredients but in the recipie you say to add the cream and icing sugar together?!?!?!


Paula September 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hello and thank you for visiting my site and leaving your comment. I appreciate it :) Just to clarify, there is no cream in the shortbread recipe. I think you misunderstood my instruction as I had written it, i.e. “When smooth add your icing sugar and cream together.” That meant to cream the butter and icing sugar together.

Hope this clarifies things for you. Thank you again for your visit and if you do make the shortbread, I hope you like them :)


Joanne October 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Best shortbread recipe by far. Held up to kids with long roll out times and cookie cutting!


Paula October 8, 2013 at 12:10 am

Hi Joanne! Thanks so much for trying the shortbread recipe. I’m really happy that you and the kids enjoyed making and eating them. Appreciate your feedback very much.


mary October 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm

i have been looking for a good shortbread recipe i will try this one and see how it turns out. will let you know how it turns out.


Paula October 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Hi Mary ~ Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy this shortbread recipe. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it.


Nicky October 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Plan on making these this weekend. The wife hates cake and her big 30 is this weekend. She does love cookies though. This recipe sounds like a winner! I’m wondering what method I should use in icing them….she likes iced shortbread cookie like the really expensive ones. I’m thinking fondant- but i’m not ver confident with fondant. Any suggestions?
*Also, just a few side notes:
1. Why is Ella so stinkin’ cute?!
2. Thank God for Rachel’s hubby being cancer-free! #CancerSucks
3. It is perfectly normal for people not to like things, but those considering leaving comments about not liking this particular recipe should do so KINDLY and not so mean spiritedly. Geez ladies! <3


Nicky October 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Actually, I think the fondant texture might ruin these cookies…. going to try to flood them with royal icing…. any thoughts?


Paula October 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Hi Nicky ~ Thanks so much for visiting and for wanting to try this recipe. I do hope that you like it. Also, thanks for you lovely compliment about my grand daughter Ella and yes, it is wonderful that Rebecca’s husband is doing so well and hopefully, he remains cancer free.
As for icing on these cookies. I’ve never iced my shortbread but I know those who have prefer a small amount of buttercream icing. You can do a flood of royal icing as well if you prefer royal over buttercream. I love them plain but it is of course, a personal choice. You may want to leave a few un-iced for your wife’s birthday just to get the full flavour of the shortbread. Please let me know how yours turned out and what you thought of them. Again, thanks so much for your visit and your comments. Much appreciated ;)


Nicky November 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!!! The absolute best cookie in the entire universe! Despite all of my challenges (accidentally froze my ball of dough and was in the midst of a time crunch, and my second dough was also vanilla-speckled [?]) they were amazing! I ended up making a royal icing from scratch that my daughter and I flooded onto these cookies, and ohhhh myyyy goooooooodneeeessssssss!!!! I could sell these bad boys and retire! They were so beautiful and absolutely amazing! The only thing that I did different (besides cooking a bit longer) was I used Tillamook Sweet Cream Salted Butter. I did leave a few united (as recommended by Paula) because being on a diet, I feel less guilty grabbing these everytime I walk into the kitchen. Thank you SOOOO much Paula for this recipe- definitely going into The Davan Family Cookbook!!!! <3


Nicky November 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

*I meant I left a few UNICED, as in not frosted!

Paula November 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Hi Nicky ~ I’m so happy that you tried this recipe and that you love the cookies! Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving such a lovely comment. You made my day :)

Heidi October 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Just made and have a stand mixer, follwed to a “T” but my mixer is
Is powdery…I tried forming a ball but it won’t stick….help! What can
I do?


Paula October 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Hi Heidi ~ I’m not sure why your dough is powdery. I’m wondering if perhaps you didn’t cream the butter quite enough.
You can try adding a little bit of water to the dough by Spritzing. Use a spray bottle and spritz a little at a time (like adding water to pie dough…very carefully) just until you can get the dough to form into a ball enough to roll and cut out.
Let me know if this helps.


Heidi October 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Hi Paula. I ended up adding 3 Tbsp of milk and it formed a dough.
I was so worried about overmixing that perhaps I didn’t mix enough.
The cookies are done. I made puumpkin shapes for Halloween. ..the cookie
tastes a bit flour like for me. I added vanilla but used regular vanilla extract and it
Left speckles in my cookie that didn’t didappear when cooked but I will frost them anyhow. Just a bit disappointed because there was such great reviews. Not sure really what I could have done differently.


Paula November 1, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi Again Heidi ~ I’m sorry that the dough didn’t work out for you and that the shortbread tasted a little flour-like. I’m thinking that you did not mix the butter quite enough (3 Tblsps of milk is a lot to have to add) I have not idea as to why the vanilla extract left spots through the dough either. If you do make them again, don’t be afraid to beat the butter (you just don’t want it coming to a creamy/whipped consistency) rather a smooth spreadable consistency. Once your flour, cornstarch and icing sugar mixture is all combined with the butter it should be of a consistency that you can pinch about a tablespoon size together between your fingers and it will roll together easily. Again, if you do try them again Heidi, let me know what happened. Thanks again for leaving your comments. I appreciate it.


Rozlynn December 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

do you need to use unbleached flour or is regular flour ok?


Julie December 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I believe I pinned these a year ago and just got around to baking some. So glad I did! Delicious–light, buttery, and gorgeous. I was craving some almond flavor so I substituted almond extract for the vanilla, but I look forward to trying the vanilla version as well. I also did a “lazy roll out” by dividing the dough into two logs and slicing the cookies from them. I don’t think this batch will last long enough for anyone to notice the boring circles, but I will officially be on the hunt for some pretty cookie cutters to make these again and give them as gifts.

Thanks so much for the recipe, and happy holidays!


Bernadette December 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I made these but found the vanilla looked like speckles through the cookies… not sure why but next batch I will be leaving the vanilla out !


Gini December 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

First tray just out of the oven…OMG, perfection in a little round disc! Thank you for the recipe!


Paula December 16, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Hooray! Thanks so much for trying the recipe Gini. I’m happy that you like it. Appreciate you leaving your comment. Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas :)


Gia December 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

I made a batch yesterday, they taste wonderful but they fell apart and crumble very easy. I’d love to make them again, Any suggestions?


Paula December 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Hi Gia ~ I’m sorry that your batch turned out crumbly but happy to hear that you liked the taste. I’m not sure why they fell apart easily. While they are a delicate cookie, they should not fall apart and crumble. Without having been there with you when you made them I can’t say for sure what the problem is. Perhaps the butter wasn’t creamed enough, a little too much flour? I really don’t know. I just made a batch yesterday and they are fine. I hope you do make them again and that next time around they are perfect for you. Thanks so much for leaving your comment and for trying the recipe!


patti December 19, 2013 at 12:54 am

I made these several times, I found 300 degrees wasn’t enough they seemed too doughy,I cooked them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. .they need to slightly Brown to bring out the butter flavor.


Paula December 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi Patti ~ I’m surprised to hear that you found 300 degrees not enough for baking your shortbread. I’ve never baked mine at a higher temp but I’m glad to hear that doing so worked for you. I bake mine in an electric oven that is fairly new but I still use an oven thermometer to be sure the temp is accurate. Thanks for visiting, for trying the recipe and for leaving your comment.


julie wolski December 21, 2013 at 10:36 am

I’m happy I found your site I have been making shortbread cookies for years and for some odd reason I cannot find my recipe card for the one I used but knew what was in it but not the measurements thanks .


Paula December 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Hi Julie ~ Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy this shortbread recipe.


Susan February 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm

This recipe looks great and I am quite eager to make them. How many grams of butter would you recommend. I live in Australia and we use grams of butter not cups.


Kate March 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm

I am a Baker at heart, I do a lot of cakes for people, but I have to say, these cookies were terrible. I found them to be very dry, I followed the recipe exactly as directed. Very disappointed.


Heather April 14, 2014 at 11:00 am

Great recipe! I just tried making these.
I had to play around with the times as 300 was not
Hot enough for mine either .. HOWEVER:
I make these at home and my mothers. Ovens
Always vary! One oven I always bake 25 below suggested, and the other 25 higher than suggested.
A thermometer is always recommended as ovens tend to lie :-)


Karen May 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I have a suggestion to the bakers who complained about streaks of vanilla in their finished cookies…try adding the vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture BEFORE adding the flour/cornstarch mixture. Should the do the trick.


gg August 11, 2014 at 12:22 am

Hi thanks for recipe. Appreciate if you could provide measurements in grams. I tried your recipe but it was too soft so i had to had 100g flour extra. Thks


Paula September 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Hi There ~ thanks for leaving your comment. To the best of my knowledge, here is the recipe in metric measurements:
113 grams of butter
192 grams of unbleached flour
64 grams of cornstarch
68 grams of icing sugar
5 ml. of pure vanilla extract


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