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Basic Shortbread

This wonderful recipe for basic shortbread can be used to make Espresso Shortbread, Chocolate-Glazed Shortbread Fingers, Lemon-Poppy Seed Glazed Balls, Black-and-White Triangles, and Candied Ginger Shortbread Wedges -- all recipes come from Martha Stewart Holiday: Season's Eatings.

  • Yield: Makes 8 to 10 wedges
Basic Shortbread

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, December Fall 2008


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' or granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 1/2-inch round cake or springform pan. Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture, and beat on low, scraping bowl if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed.

  2. Pat dough into prepared pan. Use a paring knife to score dough into wedges; prick all over in even intervals with a wooden skewer or fork.

  3. Bake until firm in the center and just starting to color, about 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Cut into wedges. Cookies will keep, in an airtight container, at room temperature 3 weeks.

Cook's Note

The dough (and its variations) can be prepared and refrigerated overnight or frozen up to three months, covered tightly with plastic wrap; thaw frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. The baking time for each variety of shortbread will vary depending on the kind of pan and cutters used.

Reviews (6)

  • Lizzie Bug 8 Aug, 2015

    Boo. Not good. Too sticky after following the recipe and just a touch too bitter after coming out of the oven. Should've stuck with AllRecipes.

  • LoveBakingCookies 21 Apr, 2010

    I made Basic shortbread and Espresso shortbread from this recipe, but I was not very impressed with the results. They tasted okay, but I had much better shortbreads before. So I will continue looking for a better shortbread recipe.

  • sieenns 22 Feb, 2009

    These taste wonderful, but they didn't come out of the pan intact. Next time I think I will cut them into squares or wedges, and then bake them on a tray.

  • snocookie 8 Feb, 2009

    Here is the recipe for the Lemon Poppyseed Balls
    Makes about 3 dozen balls
    1 recipe Basic Shortbread
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon poppy seeds
    Prepare basic shortbread, and roll into 1-inch balls; refrigerate 20 minutes. Bake on a cookie sheet until firm and just starting to color, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
    Make glaze: Whisk together confectioners' sugar, cream, and lemon juice until well combined and smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Dip top half of cooled shortbread balls into glaze, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet to set. Cookies will keep, in an airtight container, at room temperature 1 week.
    First published: December 2008

  • justchocolate 15 Dec, 2008

    Click to look at the basic shortbread recipe and you'll see it's 325.

  • orangezinna 15 Dec, 2008

    The lemon poppy seed glazed balls recipe doesn't seem to be here. I've saved the others, but the Lemon shortbreads just go to a blank screen. Would anyone have the recipe?
    Thanks :-)

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