Everyday Shortbreads

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Shortbreads are somewhat of a holiday tradition, alhough in reality they are great any time of the year and for any holiday. Dan had been asking for some shortbread cookies.  Shortbreads shout Christmas to all of us don't they! 

This is an every day shortbread recipe which makes 3 dozen buttery, delicious shortbread cookies. They are called Every Day Shortbreads because you don't need to wait for a holiday to make them. I'm all for that!  Shortbread cookies every day??? Count me in!

I think shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to make. You just need to follow a couple of rules in order to have success.

One is to ALWAYS use butter!  Don't even be tempted to use shortening or margarine. It HAS to be butter. Butter is what gives shortbread cookies their lovely short texture and beautiful flavour! 

Also you need to use superfine sugar if you can.  You can create a superfine sugar by blitzing regular granulated sugar in the food processor. Its also called fruit sugar.  This will give you the best results.

Everyday Shortbreads

These are my mother's Christmas Cookie Cutters.  Every Christmas Cookie of my childhood was cut out with these cookie cutters. Mom never got fancy with any of her Christmas Cookies.  
Shortbread or Sugar cookies, were cut with these cutters, and maybe had a bit of sugar sprinkles or candied cherry sprinkled on top prior to baking as way of a decoration. She didn't go in for icing and such. We did not mind in the least.

Everyday Shortbreads

If it had a Christmas Shape, it automatically tasted special.  A tiny bit of a sprinkle, a bit of candied cherry, or nothing at all.

If it was shaped like a Christmas tree, or Santa Claus we were very happy children. We were not brought up with loads of bells and whistles. We had a simple life and I still enjoy having a simple life.

To be honest these shortbread cookies taste beautiful enough on their own without much extra added at all.  When I worked at the Manor, everything had to be fancy smancy. Nothing simple was good enough.

The amount of work and effort that went into my job there was enough to cure me of ever  really wanting fancy smancy in my every day life.  Life is just too short for overly fiddly things.

As the Chef at the Manor, I was not only responsible for the cooking (for all occasions, including every day) but also for the cleanliness of the kitchen, conservatory, and larder. Makes sense. The kitchen was HUGE. You could fit the whole single floor of this house I am in right now, into that one kitchen.

It had heavy black beams with super high ceilings. Pretty to look at, but what a nuisance to keep clean and dust free. Everything caught on them. There was no end to the counter space or cupboard space.

Half of those cupboards were filled with crystal, china, silver, copper . . .  all of which was my responsability over and above my daily duties.  Everything had to be kept sparkling.

It didn't take very long for me to be cured from ever wanting to have silver or copper, etc. for myself. Again, nice to look at, but very high maintenance.  And all of the maintenance had to be done by hand.

Most of the time I would do the polishing while they were away. Not having to cook gave me much more time to do this chore.

The wall over the AGA (cathedral ceiling height) was  lined with copper vessels. All of which had to be brought down and polished. My husband would come over and help. He would get up on the ladder and hand things down to me, one at a time, then he would put them back when done.

Everything had a specific place for its positioning as well, so it was just best to take the pieces down one at a time so as to ensure they got put back in the spot that they were meant to be in. That was only the tip of a very big iceberg.

Cured. Cured. Cured from ever wanting fancy smancy for myself. If its too much work, I don't need it in my life, and that includes the things I cook and eat.

That's why I love these shortbread cookies.  Nothing fancy here.  Just good eating. Simple and easy to make. Nothing out of the ordinary.

No special ingredients needed. You can decorate them as fancy as you want, or you can keep it plain and simple

Which is just the way I like things.  Plain and simple without a lot of adornment.  Does that make me lazy?  Perhaps . . . 

But it also makes me happy. And being happy can't be beat. A simple life, uncomplicated and free from lots of faffing about.  That's the life for me!

I hope you will bake these. They are fabulous!

Everyday Shortbreads

Everyday Shortbreads
Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 35 Min
Shortbread cookies are great for any holiday, but are especially loved at Christmas! For best results use superfine or fruit sugar instead of granulated sugar.


  • 1 cup (250g) salted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup (95g) superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
  • 2 TBS cornstarch


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Stir in the flour and cornstarch to combine well, then knead with your hands to make a smooth dough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300*F/150*C. Have ready several baking sheets which have been lined with baking paper.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place onto the cookie sheets, leaving some space around each.
  4. Decorate as desired with candy sprinkles, coloured sugar chopped nut, chopped candied cherries, etc.
  5. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes (Mine took exactly 18) until the cookies are set and just beginning to brown around the edges.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container. These will keep in a cool place for up to one month.
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Everyday Shortbreads

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  1. I love a good shortbread and at Christmas, I generally just do the traditional rounds of shortbread. It's seen as somewhat exotic here, but everyone who tries it loves it instantly. That lovely, buttery texture is irresistible. As well as the plain one, I do my grandmother's recipe that has a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a big pinch of cloves in it - lovely to enjoy with a cup of tea.

    I can imagine that all that elbow grease involved in polishing copper, silver and scrubbing fancy surfaces would cure anyone of wanting to own those things. I can recall days of polishing with Silvo and trying to clean crystal chandeliers - never again!

    I'd never thought of decorating shortbread, but I did like the ones with the candied cherries (very festive!) and I know the grandchildren would love the coloured sprinkles - as a kid everything tastes better when covered with sprinkles. We used to eat them on buttered bread (we called it Fairy Bread).

  2. This is almost exactly my shortbread recipe, except you use cornstarch and I use vanilla! Either way, I agree. A cookie with a special shape is just the best cookie!


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