Peppercorn Shortbread

peppercorn shortbread
Photo: Johnny Miller
Makes four 4 1/2-inch rounds or one 10-inch round

Slightly sweet, crumbly shortbread packs a nice punch when topped with four varieties of coarsely ground peppercorns; you can use a tablespoon of a premixed blend of peppercorns instead of the separate colors. Enjoy a piece for breakfast or with your afternoon tea.


  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ teaspoon white peppercorns, coarsely ground

  • ¾ teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground

  • ¾ teaspoon pink peppercorns, coarsely ground

  • ¾ teaspoon green peppercorns, coarsely ground

  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in center. Lightly butter four 4 1/2-inch springform pans (or one 10-inch springform pan).

  2. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of each ground peppercorn. In a separate bowl, beat butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down side of bowl. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined.

  3. Divide dough evenly among prepared pans, and smooth tops using an offset spatula (or press into 10-inch pan, if using, and lightly score into 8 wedges). Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown, about 40 minutes (or 80 minutes for 10-inch).

  4. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar and remaining ground pepper, dividing evenly. Remove pans; let cool completely on rack. (If using 10-inch pan, cool slightly before cutting into wedges.) Shortbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Cook's Notes

Gift-Wrapping Tip
We wrapped our 4 1/2-inch rounds in glassine cut into a star shape, and tied them with kitchen twine. Get the star template here.

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