How to Make Grandma's Scotch Shortbread Recipe

by happynutritionist

Scotch Shortbread is a delicious Christmas tradition, passed down from generation to generation. The story of my Grandmother's passage to America is interesting too.

Scotch Shortbread is delicious any time of year, but my memories are of my grandmother making it each Christmas. She came here from Scotland when she was 12, and each year at Christmas my grandparents would be at our home for the holidays, and she made a very simple, but delicious, Scotch Shortbread. It is simply butter, flour and sugar, but in just the right amounts and cooked JUST RIGHT!

After she passed away, I took over the tradition...a Nutritionist making something so rich, with sugar...and white flour, you ask? YES! Just once a year. I hope you enjoy taking a look at the following things related to Scotch Shortbread and the land of my maternal ancestors, Scotland.

by Claudia Meydrech a/k/a happynutritionist
Intro Image: My Own
New on Wizzley: October 2014 - Updated 5/14/18

A bit about my Grandmother and her Journey to America

She was a Scottish Lass

My Grandmother on my Mother's side came from Scotland when she was 12 years old. It really is quite a dramatic story that deserves it's own article, but I'll share the short version with you.

Her Dad came to the United States to find a home and get a business established before bringing his family over to the United States. By bringing, I don't mean that he went home and got them, and flew them back here with him, flight wasn't what it is today at that time. When all was ready, he would pay for passage for his wife and children, including my grandmother, to come from Scotland by ship.

A sad thing happened while he was here in the United States and my grandmother was back in Scotland with her mother, brother and two sisters. The youngest sister who was about 4 got leukemia. I have letters written back and forth between Great Grandma and Great Grandpa. I sat and cried as I read through them. It described her illness, how Great Grandpa wanted to get home to see her but that would not happen and she would pass away.

Imagine being the a mother of 4, losing your youngest while your husband was not home, then having to pack up the family and board a ship to America within a short time after. Such was the strength of my ancestors, and that is how my Grandmother got here when she was 12 years old. She came through Ellis Island like so many did to this part of the eastern United States.

This image is one of my Grandfather and Grandmother. He took care of her for many years as she had a stroke when she was in her 60's. She lived to be 90, and he, 97.

Beautiful Scotland

Enjoy a visit to the land of my ancestors
My Recipe for Scotch Shortbread

My Recipe for Scotch Shortbread

So Easy and So Good

Prep time 30 min  -  Total time 60 min
Ingredients for 30 servings
4 Cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour  • 1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar  • 2 Cups Butter (softened to room temperature)  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Salt

You'll need a couple of greased and lightly floured sheet cake pans. You can also use a round cake pan as I did in the picture you see in the introduction. If you prefer using a cookie cutter and making cookies, you can do that too.

1. Preheat your oven to about 325 F
2. Use a mixer at medium speed and cream your butter.
3. GRADUALLY add sugar, and beat until fluffy
4. Mix the flour and salt, and sift into the butter mixture, blending with your hands as you add
5. Take the mixture and press it into your pans. This is a thick mixture, so you will not be pouring it, but "pressing" it into the pan(s), to about 1/2" thick. (If you are making cookies you will roll out the dough and cut your cookies with a cookie cutter.)
6. Pinch all around the edge to form a "fluted" rim.
7. Prick the surface at even intervals with a fork.

TIP: If you don't use a Shortbread Cutter, use a sharp knife to mark out your squares, or wedges if you use a round pan, and don't cut completely through, just enough so they cut nicely after baking.


Recipes tell you about 50 or so minutes, and remove when firm, but not "hardens" as it cools. BUT I want you to look for this sign that your shortbread is just right. The fluted edge and a little way in from the fluted edge should be a nice light brown, the rest of it should be a golden color, from just in from the edge to the center. It should be firm, but not brown all over.

Cool in the pan, then cut where marked.

Now you're going to have times when you don't do this perfectly, it will still taste good, it's just "yummier" if it is still a nice golden color after baking.

TIP: If you use a glass pan, put it in the center of the oven, aluminum, a lower shelf.

Cookies should be watched closely, they don't take long to cook.

Scottish Flag Image

from Pixabay

Recipe  4.7/5 Stars (3 Votes)

Larger Image of what round Shortbread should look like before going in the oven

I have lost my image of the shortbread cooked, but will add it when I find it
Scotch Shortbread before cooking
Scotch Shortbread before cooking

British Shortbread Mix

In case you like it prepared for you
Garvey's Best Of Britain Shortbread Mix, 8-Ounce Boxes (P...

Delightful Festive Shortbread Pans for Christmas

And other times and occasions
Brown Bag Norwegian Woods Shortbread Pan / Reindeer Design
Updated: 05/14/2018, happynutritionist
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Do you have a traditional dessert or other recipe passed down from your ancestors?

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happynutritionist on 09/23/2017

@Margielynn it was a pleasure to write about my Grandmother and enjoy memories of her as I did so. I am glad you will be trying this recipe.

Guest on 08/12/2017

My hubby loves shortbread, I will be trying your recipes! Thanks for sharing the story of how your grandmother, it was very touching! Thanks for sharing grandma's recipe!

happynutritionist on 07/28/2015

Haha @blackspanielgallery no, it's a very popular holiday treat, and not a bit of alcohol in it. Thank you for the compliment.

blackspanielgallery on 07/24/2015

Excellent recipe. And, when I started this article I thought there would be liquid Scotch as an ingredient. Sort of like rum cake.

happynutritionist on 07/23/2015

It is a very sweet tradition, and the pans are pretty. Oh yes, eating the shortbread is really the best part!!

Mira on 07/23/2015

I like that shortbread pan! I also like to eat shortbread :D and I like that you cream the butter in your recipe. I should get a shortbread pan and make this a Christmas tradition over here, too. :D

frankbeswick on 07/22/2015

Shortbread! My mother, a great baker, used to make it.

happynutritionist on 07/22/2015

@Veronica Thank you! I'm glad you also enjoy this sweet treat during the Christmas season.

Veronica on 07/17/2015

This recipe is just right. It should never have any liquid in it. Creaming the butter first is important. Here in the North of England, we always have shortbread at Christmas and New Year.

How refreshing to have a proper shortbread recipe online.

happynutritionist on 02/03/2015

@sandyspider it is so easy and delicious...and fine for a special occasion like Christmas.

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