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The Hills Are Alive With the Scent of Shortbread

scottish-shortbreadFire up the bagpipes, it’s shortbread time! That’s right. You heard us. We’re proud to confess that we often go dancing in the hills of Edinburgh, singing praises about this wee cookie. If we knew how to play the bagpipe, we’d be writing ballads about the right sexy biscuit. As we can’t, we do the next best thing and bake it every weekend. We’re not above boiling extra pots of tea and borrowing the neighbor’s jam just so we can munch on more shortbread. So if you catch us tripping down the slopes, practicing our do, re, mi, bring along your bagpipe (and a handful of shortbread). We’ll gladly perform an impromptu concert.


Makes 30 Cookies                               Total Time: 40 Minutes [10 minutes preparation; 30 minutes baking]


2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Zest of 1 orange


1. Preheat the oven to 325℉ (165℃).

2. Working with a stand mixer (preferably fitted with a paddle attachment), incorporate the butter, salt, vanilla, orange zest, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups flour. Mix well until dough forms.

3. Sprinkle a wooden prep board with flour. Knead the dough mixture for 5 minutes, adding enough flour to soften the dough. If the dough becomes too soft, you can chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the dough into a ½ inch thick slab.

4. To form the cookie shape you have two traditional choices. You can either:

a) cut the slab into 3 X 1 inch rectangular strips; or

b) form 2-inch diameter cookie rounds by hand or with a cookie cutter.

5. Place each cookie at least 1-inch apart on a non-greased baking sheet.

6. Bake at 325℉ (165℃) for 30 minutes or until the cookies are pale brown and crisp. * Allow the shortbreads to cool on a wire cooling rack.

7. Enjoy! If there are any leftovers, store them in an airtight bin.

* BT Tip: If you have made round cookies, for added sweetness roll the edges of the warm shortbreads in a layer of fine sugar.

9 replies »

  1. I LOVE good quality shortbread—for me, few things go better with a cup of tea. I’ve never made shortbread with brown sugar—it sounds delicious. I’ll have to try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Great post (love your title) and lovely photograph. ~ Jeannie

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