This Easy Shortbread Cookie Recipe is the perfect addition to your cookie repetoire. We've taken a basic shortbread cookie base, and added semi-sweet chocolate, chopped nuts, and tart dried fruit for the best slice and bake cookie dough you can keep on hand all season.
Let's be honest - nothing is better during the holidays than baking (and eating!) a delicious shortbread cookie recipe. And this is the best of the best because...well...we've added chocolate, nuts, and sweet dried fruit.
This shortbread cookie recipe comes together in a flash - even if you don't know the first thing about how to make shortbread from scratch! The shortbread cookie base has little more than 3 main ingredients - butter, sugar, and flour, with an assist from vanilla and salt -all pantry staples. A bit of time spent chopping and mixing in your chocolate, pecans and cherries (or cranberries!) and the dough is practically finished and ready to roll into a lovely slice and bake log.
The hardest part of this recipe is waiting two hours for your dough to hydrate before slicing and baking. They're tender and buttery, with pops of sweetness and delightfully crunchy pecans...and they'll be perfect to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee on Christmas morning.
- Butter. Unsalted, only one stick, and at room temperature!
- Sugars. You'll need both granulated and brown sugar for this recipe.
- Flour. The main ingredient the shortbread and you'll want to use all-purpose.
- Mix ins. Pecans, semi-sweet chocolate (~60-70& cacao) and dried cherries or cranberries.
A stand mixer is best for this recipe, as its a very stiff, tough dough. Otherwise, you'll just need some plastic wrap and a sharp knife for the prep!
You'll also need two cookie sheets and parchment paper.
How to make Easy Shortbread Cookies
Start by chopping all of your mix ins and have them ready to go, then begin the creaming process.
STEP 1: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer), cream together the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla for about 3 minutes on medium high speed, then scrape down the sides.
STEP 2: Add the flour and mix on low until it becomes crumbly. Scrape the bowl again to ensure all of the butter is incorporated.
STEP 3: Add the pecans, chocolate and cherries and mix on low until evenly distributed. The dough will remain crumbly, but will be fully moistened with no visible flour.
Forming the dough
STEP 4: Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and turn the dough out into the center.
Form the dough into a log using clean hands, being sure to push it together really tightly. Wrap the formed log completely in plastic wrap.
Roll the wrapped log back and forth a few times, and put pressure on each end so it's in a nice, tight cylinder.
It will feel like the dough isn't wet enough, but it is! The plastic wrap and time in the fridge helps to hydrate the flour and brings it all together.
STEP 5: Roll the dough up in a dish towel and place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours to hydrate the dough, and allow it to firm up.
The dish towel will help to prevent a flat or indented surface on the cookie dough log.
Slicing and baking the shortbread cookies
STEP 6: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
STEP 7: Using a sharp knife, slice the log into ½" thick slices.
Roll the log a quarter turn after cutting each slice to keep the round shape. If any pieces start to break off, press them back into the dough and continue to slice.
STEP 8: Bake for 10-12 minutes until just barely golden on the bottom edges, switching pans at half.
If you're unsure if they're underbaked, use a small spatula to peek under a cookie. If it's starting to appear golden, they're ready! Be careful not to over-bake.
STEP 9: Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Add a touch of flaky sea salt if you're feeling it. I always am, so...
Storing and Freezing
Store the baked cookies in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
This shortbread cookie dough can be frozen in log form, making for easy slicing and baking when you need a cookie moment! After slicing, bake directly from frozen following the same instructions as above.
FAQs & Tips
Scottish shortbread is typically a bit more firm and crispy, as shortening is typically added to the dough rather than just butter.
There are recipes created with both cold and room temperature butter. This specific recipe is made using room temperature butter, then placed in the fridge to firm up the dough and hydrate the flour.
Adding egg to a shortbread recipe will turn it more like a sugar cookie. The addition of an egg will also act as a leavened causing it to rise and spread slightly.
Sugar cookies are lighter in texture and contain eggs and learners (baking soda or baking powder), while shortbread cookies only contain a few key ingredients (butter, sugar, flour).
More Cookie Recipes
- Cookie Butter Cookies
- Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles
- Classic Chewy Snickerdoodle Recipe
Pin for Later
Easy Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheets
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature (113g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar 50g
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar 67g
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour 200g
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans 40g
- 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (~60-70% cacao) roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup dried cherries or cranberries roughly chopped (50g)
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer), cream together the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla for about 3 minutes on medium high speed, then scrape down the sides.
- Add the flour and mix on low until it becomes crumbly. Scrape again to get all butter incorporated.
- Add the pecans, chocolate and cherries and mix on low until evenly distributed. The dough will remain crumbly, but will be fully moistened.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Form the dough into a log using clean hands (be sure to push it together really tightly), then wrap it completely in the plastic wrap. Roll it back and forth a few times and put pressure on each edge so it's in a nice cylinder.
- Roll the dough up in a dish towel and place in the fridge for at least two hours to hydrate and firm up. The dish towel helps to prevent a flat or indented cookie surface.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350℉/177℃ and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, slice into ½" thick slices. Roll the log a quarter turn after each slice. If any pieces start to break off, press them back into the dough log and continue slicing.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until just slightly golden on the edges, switching pans at half.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.