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Gramma's Scotch Shortbread Cookies

Updated on November 17, 2013

Sometimes the simplest things produce the best results. I hear it time and again. Myself I have proven it with my Christmas baking. I start in November because I am not pressed for time and what I make needs to age to develop more flavor. I like my holidays to be stress free so I do my cooking early.

This recipe is another one that was handed down from my grand mother to my mother to me. I still make them the same way it was handed down to me - my Christmas tradition. Let me show you and maybe convince you to add this tradition to yours.

I've been told this recipe goes back over 100 years, a settlers recipe. A small indulgence during the holiday season. It is a simple recipe with few ingredients. I've seen it with brown sugar or regular white sugar. I have also seen it with more than ingredients like salt and cornstarch. This recipe was handed done to me as is so I don't know if my grandmother changed it or those before her, but as is it has been our family tradition to be made so. The only change among the families is the shapes the cookies are made into. What shape will be yours?

Photo credit: Taken by myself with my Samsung S III cell phone camera.

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 3 doz or so


  • 4 cups AP Flour
  • 3/4 cup icing or powdered sugar
  • 1 lb unsalted butter


  1. Mix the flour and icing sugar together
  2. Use softened butter but not melted. Mix the butter into the flour with your hands.
  3. Form dough into a ball and ,with a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out out shapes, Bells, Christmas trees, snowman, or just rounds.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet and dock with a fork. (poke holes in the cookie with as fork)
  6. Bake at 325 F for 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edge.
  7. Cool on a rack and pack away in a sealed container for a month to age for best flavor (if you can).
J.K. Adams 12-Inch-by-2-3/4-Inch Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin
J.K. Adams 12-Inch-by-2-3/4-Inch Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin

This is like the antique one I inherited from my Mom who got it from her mom.

R & M Holiday Classics 12 Piece Cookie Cutter Tub Set
R & M Holiday Classics 12 Piece Cookie Cutter Tub Set

This is like the set I remember Mom having. The bell shape was my favorite. I guess the ringing of the bell meant time to eat.

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat with Measures
Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat with Measures

Having a baking mat like this ensure even measurements for your baking needs.


Do You Have Any Cooking Traditions?

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    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      That is a very simple recipe! We have a few, but not many.

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @Susan Zutautas: I agree. Simply the best. And fun to involve the kids in as well. Mixing the squishy butter into the flour and sugar with little hands is fun.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is the best Shortbread recipe. My Grandmother was from Paisley Scotland and it's the one I use too :)

    • Northerntrials profile image

      Northerntrials 4 years ago

      @DewaltSawGuy LM: You'll have to find a good many hiding places for them to last long enough to give Santa some. But that is almost like another tradition involving finding hidden eggs. :)

    • DewaltSawGuy LM profile image

      DewaltSawGuy LM 4 years ago

      Nothing beats christmas shortbread cookies, they go so well with milk for Santa Claus. Nice and easy recipe to follow too, cheers.