Liven Up Holiday Shortbread: 10 Festive Mix-Ins

Shortbread is a classic holiday cookie for many, and it's one that we make each year in our house. While I tend to stick pretty closely to a classic version, I've started to add small and subtle mix-ins this year to make for a more festive, interesting cookie and one that stands apart from the rest. Here are a few ideas...

The nice thing about shortbread cookies is the small ingredient list (commonly they consist of only butter, sugar, flour and vanilla). I love Ina Garten's recipe, and we've had some fun over the years at The Kitchn with our own riffs including the always-popular Irish Shortbread Toffee Bars and Cardamom Vanilla Shortbread with White Chocolate and Rose Petals.

But on days when you're in the mood for keeping it relatively simple yet still adding your own touch, consider one of my favorite mix-ins. As for how much to add, it certainly depends on your recipe and you don't want to incorporate too many chunks into your dough because then it will become quite difficult to roll out or slice. My blanket suggestion, then, is to start with 1/4 cup of your chosen mix-in (with the exception of espresso powder and chopped herbs: begin with 1 tablespoon. For flaky salt, a sprinkle will do) and see how the dough looks. It should be studded with little bits of mix-in here and there but shouldn't be so crowded that you wouldn't be able to work with it.

I'd love to know: do you have a favorite shortbread mix-in?

10 Shortbread Mix-Ins:
• Dried fruits like cranberries or cherries
• Cacao nibs
• Toasted coconut
• Mini chocolate bits
• Chopped fresh herbs
• Toasted nuts
• Espresso powder
• Flaky salt (like Maldon)
• White chocolate chunks
• Crushed peppermint candies

Related: Elegant Appetizer: Savory Shortbread

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)

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