Christmas, Cookies/Squares, Sweets
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Classic Shortbread, Two Ways

Eleven months of the year, I milk my half Arabic background (even though I can count how many words I can say and understand on two hands, and know how to cook only a few key traditional dishes). The other month, that being December, I milk my other half which is Scottish. Why you ask? Shortbread of course! Maybe tartan blanket scarves and plaid in general, but that’s a different story.

Shortbread is a holiday tradition in my family. It is one of the only desserts where my Dad will eat more than one in a sitting. I grew up tasting the traditional Scottish, thick cut, rectangular, extra buttery and flaky, shortbread. Don’t get me wrong, this is still my favourite (Dad if you’re reading this, please have some ready when I get home). However, a little change never hurt anyone.

We decided to do two versions of the traditional recipe, one savoury and one sweet. For savoury, we chose orange and rosemary, and for sweet we chose dark chocolate and sea salt (so still a little savoury…) I love the way that salt really brings out the sweetness of chocolate, so even though there’s salt paired with dark chocolate, it really is sweet!

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Shortbread rectangles with dark chocolate and sea salt…mmmm


Yield: About 24 cookies


  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup, icing sugar
  • 2 cups, all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • Optional:
    • Zest of 1 orange; and
    • 1 tbsp dried rosemary; or
    • 100g melted dark chocolate; and
    • sea salt

*Note, I split the recipe in half for each of the mix-ins, so adjust the amount used accordingly.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer (or a spatula with lots of muscle), beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in icing sugar and continue to beat until combined.
  2. Sift in flour and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla and continue to beat.
  3. Flour your work surface, and turn out dough onto it. At this point, add whichever flavourings you choose and fold in with your hands. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut into rounds or rectangles. Make sure you re-use the scrap dough by re-rolling and cutting!
  4. Place cookies onto an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until the sides are slightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack to cool.
  5. If you have chosen to use a chocolate topping, melt the chocolate with a double boiler and place into piping or ziploc bag. Cut off the corner and proceed to pipe desired shaped onto cookies!



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