Recipe Review

Martha Stewart’s Super Easy Traditional Shortbread Cookies Are the One Gift You’ll Want to Both Give and Receive

published Dec 13, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: NBC NewsWire/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a giftable dessert so delectable you’ll want to make an extra batch for yourself, Martha Stewart has you covered. We’d whip up pretty much anything that has Martha’s stamp of approval — from her creamy coconut pie to this no-knead overnight bread — but this holiday season, we’re especially jazzed about her recipe for traditional Scottish shortbread — classic, gift-worthy cookies rich in both history and texture. 

According to Martha, the term “shortbread” comes from the dessert’s dense, crumbly texture that comes from the high proportion of fat to flour. While she says she enjoys baking shortbread year-round, Martha especially loves this recipe during the holiday season. “I happen to love shortbread and I make it every single year, “ she says. “At holiday time, it’s a fantastic gift because it’s decorative and long-lasting.”

It’s also fairly easy to make. Because the recipe only calls for four ingredients — butter, all-purpose flour, rice flour, and sugar — Martha recommends spending a little extra for the finest stuff. Think salted European butter, a nice unbleached, all-purpose flour, and superfine sugar. For this recipe, you’ll also need some rice flour, which she says gives the shortbread a unique, sandy texture. 

Once your butter reaches room temperature, add 1 1/2 sticks to the bowl of an electric mixer. After you begin mixing the butter, add 3/4 cup of superfine sugar. Scrape down the butter and sugar mixture, then add 1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour and 1/4 cup of rice flour, then mix. 

While you’re mixing, preheat your oven to 300°F. The queen of hosting also recommends baking the shortbread in an 8-inch ceramic, decorative mold, but if you don’t have one on hand, you can also use a glass pie dish. Just make sure to spray either option generously with non-stick vegetable spray before adding the dough. 

Fill the dish or mold evenly, then press into the mixture firmly with the back of your measuring cup to smooth it out. Bake at 300°F for an hour and fifteen minutes, turning the dish once or twice in the process. Martha recommends cutting the shortbread into triangle-shaped wedges, then setting them in the turned-off oven for an hour to dry them out. 

Afterwards, pack them in tins or cookie jars for gifts — and don’t forget to enjoy one yourself with a milky cup of tea or coffee!

Watch the full video for Martha’s traditional shortbread below and get the recipe here