The secret to really good shortbread cutout cookies, that you can serve plain or sandwiched with a jam filling, is a sturdy cookie that is buttery and not too sweet. This shortbread cookie recipe is it. Whether you want to make shortbread sandwich cookies or you just want plain shortbread cookies, this recipe rolls out beautifully and is very easy to work with. The cut out shortbread cookies bake without much puffing or distortion of shape. They stay put in the oven and once baked they are just firm enough to sandwich with a filling, be that jam, or other fillings (like curd filled cookies or a set milk chocolate ganache filling that you can spoon or pipe onto cookies).
A note on rolled shortbread cookie ingredient ratios:
This shortbread cookie has a ratio that’s pretty close to 4:1:4 by weight of butter/icing sugar/flour because the recipe has close to equal parts of butter and flour by weight and the weight of icing sugar is roughly 1/4 the weight of flour. For reference, I often make traditional shortbread cookies with a 1:1:1 ratio of butter/sugar/flour (by weight). But at that ratio, the shortbread are pressed into a pan and scored before baking because the mixture is quite crumbly. I suspect it’s too crumbly to roll, in fact. So it would seem that a ratio of 1:1:1 by weight of butter/sugar/flour works well for pan shortbread, and a ratio of 4:1:4 by weight of butter/sugar/flour for rolled shortbread cookie cutouts.
Recipe for classic shortbread cookies with jam
Jam-filled shortbread cookies
These shortbread cutout cookies are buttery and not too sweet and sturdy enough for sandwiching fillings like raspberry or strawberry jam.
- 230 grams unsalted butter, softened 1 cup
- 63 grams powdered sugar 1/2 cup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 grams all-purpose flour 2 cups
- 1/2 tsp salt
Jam filled shortbread cookies
- 125 mL strawberry jam 1/2 cup
- powdered sugar for dusting on top of sandwich cookies
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the vanilla until combined.
Sift in the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Gather and form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper (I love the big Nordic Ware cookie sheets that you can get on Amazon).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out circles with 2-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps to cut out as many circles as possible. You should get about 40 circles. With a tiny heart, star or diamond cookie cutter, cut out centre window in 20 of the circles. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets, spacing them out.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Let the edges brown just a touch. Not too much! Let cool completely.
How to assemble shortbread sandwich cookies with jam
Dollop a teaspoon of jam on the 20 "full circle", bottom side of the cookies. Top with the cookies with a centre cut-out window.
Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
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Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University.