Really Perfect Shortbread

Really Perfect Shortbread

by Amber on January 29, 2011

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.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie | MBA January 29, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I love shortbread, but rarely make it! I don’t think I have ever tried Walker’s Shortbread, but it sounds like perfection! Love the little hearts!


Scott January 29, 2011 at 12:42 PM

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?


Amber January 29, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Hi Scott,

You can use a quarter sheet pan, I have in the past. I believe this recipe will fit well, but don’t hate me if I’m wrong there. But I have to tell you, if you want to bake shortbread often, it really is worth getting the mold, simply because it bakes better and more consistently. If you can, find a quarter sheet pan made out of clay instead of metal.

When I did bake in a metal pan, I would score the shortbread with a pizza cutter before it went into the oven, in the shape I wanted (I usually went for 3 x 1″ rectangles, ala Walker’s), and then pricked with the fork after. Then it was easier to cut when it came out of the oven. You definitely should still cut it when it’s warm, otherwise it just falls to pieces.

Let me know how you get on.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

All the best,



Nancy @TSP January 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Ooo these look scrumptious. But, darn my dairy issues. Nothing like butter to make a perfectly perfect shortbread. Love the hearts.


Wenderly January 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Those shortbread hearts are precious! Can’t wait to try this recipe! I love, love, love shortbread!


Tracy January 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

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!


Jen Schall January 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Yum! I love shortbread… Looks beautiful, too. Sometimes the simplest desserts are the best!


Maria January 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM

These look so good! Love the heart shapes!


Sylvie@GITK January 29, 2011 at 5:58 PM

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 :-)


Amanda January 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM

I love a perfect recipe.. cant wait to try yours! :)


DessertForTwo January 30, 2011 at 2:54 PM

How perfect for Valentine’s Day! I think I would like ‘em dipped in chocolate though ;)



Susan January 30, 2011 at 7:26 PM

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


Robyn | Add a Pinch January 31, 2011 at 7:53 AM

Yum! I love shortbread, Amber and can’t wait to try your recipe! I know it’s perfect.


naomi January 31, 2011 at 1:09 PM

I love shortbread and love Walker’s shortbread. Your version is looking alot like it!


Lauren February 1, 2011 at 3:31 PM

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!


Kristen February 2, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Shortbread is one of the best simple snacks… love it! Great recipe, Amber!


Margaret Murphy Trip February 2, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Heading to Ebay right now to find a shortbread mold! Thanks for the inspiration…I LOVE shortbread!


mamma mia January 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

i just follow the recipe.(eating now)
this is just amazing..thank you for sharing ur recipe.


Carolyn Blount Brodersen January 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

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!


Michelle whisker March 18, 2012 at 6:04 PM

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


Amber March 18, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Hi Michelle, sorry about that. In my older recipes I was using an older format. C. means cup, or 4.25 oz of flour. Let me know how you like the shortbread!


Vickie May 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

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


Michelle whisker May 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

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.


Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies May 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Hi Michelle,

You’re right, this recipe does not use British cups. I am American, and even though I’m married to a Brit, I bake in American standard sizes because that’s how I was taught.

The recipe calls for roughly 85 grams of butter, 6.4 oz of flour.. etc. I have made the recipe several times and never once ended up with a paste. I’m not really sure how much butter it took to cause a paste, but that definitely must have been the problem.

I’m sorry you didn’t get the result you wanted the first time, but I do hope you try again, but it is a fabulous cookie.


Renaire June 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM

OMG I compare every shortbread I eat to Walker’s, specifically Walker’s Pure Butter Highlanders (which they supply to Starbucks). These things are dremy! Have you had Highlanders and are your shortbreads similar to them or Walker’s regular shortbreads?



Amber June 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Renaire, I can’t remember if I’ve had the Highlanders or not.. my comparison was definitely to the regular run of the mill Walker’s we can get at the grocery store. I wonder what’s different about the Highlander’s?


Renaire June 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

This was a response from a Walker’s Customer Representative:

We are pleased to hear that you enjoy the shortbread we bake for Starbucks. The Walkers at Starbucks is our Highlander Shortbread. This helps highlight a good point: shortbread is not the same recipe in a different shape. If the shortbread you are buying at the store is a different kind (Fingers, Rounds, Triangles) there will be a different taste. All of Walkers shortbread is made with flour, butter and salt but each shape has different ratios of each, are of different thickness and have varying bake times. This all leads to a different taste and texture for each type of shortbread and allows everyone to discover their personal favorite.

Personally this is my favorite shortbread. If you happen to be nearby a Starbucks pop in and the shortbreads are usually upfront by the cashier in a clear wrapper with two individual cookies. It’s a must-try!


Amy August 27, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Do you use cold butter or room temp butter?


Amber August 27, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Hey Amy, thanks for your question. It doesn’t really matter because the butter will get heated up a bit in the food processor (just from the energy the processor creates) and then chilled again when you put it in the refrigerator after everything is combined.

Using room temperature butter might mean needing less time for the food processor to bring everything together, but only by a few seconds at most.



printhaa October 26, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Good day Amber :)
Do you mind to share the recipe in metrics form, grams?


Amrita October 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM

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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