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Shortbread cookies stacked on silver tray against white background
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4.67 from 33 votes

Shortbread Cookie Recipe

This Shortbread Cookie Recipe is irresistible! The initial bite is wonderfully crisp followed by a melt in your mouth buttery texture. The light drizzle of chocolate on top adds an added depth of flavor that is unforgettable!
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time17 minutes
Total Time1 hour 2 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 17 cookies
Calories: 102kcal


For the Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • cup confectioners' sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the Chocolate Topping

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces


  • Adjust an oven rack in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350 F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds on low speed.  Add the butter one piece at a time and mix on medium until it is incorporated and the dough starts to form a ball.  Dump dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, shape into a flat disc, and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a large, 1/2 inch thick square.  Using a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles.  (Any dough scraps can be rewrapped and chilled while the cookies are baking).  Gently slide a metal spatula underneath each round and transfer it to a prepared baking sheet.  Place 8-9 on each sheet.
  • Bake one sheet at a time, 15-17 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.  Transfer the pan to a wire wrack and allow the cookies to cool completely before drizzling with chocolate.

For the Chocolate

  • Put about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. 
  • Melt 1 ounce of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over the pan of boiling water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.  Stir constantly until just melted.  Add the remaining 1 ounce and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

To Decorate

  • Keep the cookies on the baking sheet.  Spoon the room temperature chocolate into a zipper-lock bag and close to seal, then snip the tip to make a very small opening.  If the opening is too big, the chocolate will flow out too fast.  Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the cookies, making criss-cross patterns (or any pattern you like).  Let the chocolate set before removing the cookies from the pan (unless, of course, you need to eat one right away).


Be sure to check the full post for variations, storage information, ingredient tips, and more!
  • Do Not Skip Refrigerating Your Cookie Dough. I know you're in a hurry and it may be tempting to simply go ahead and roll out your dough. However, the refrigeration allows your dough to set properly so the cookies hold their shape as they bake and don't spread out too much.
  • Use Vanilla Bean Paste! If you don't have actually vanilla beans this product makes a great option.  I actually keep vanilla bean paste in my kitchen because I adore the convenience of it.  You can add it to a recipe like you would add vanilla extract. But your cookies will taste better using the paste or vanilla beans rather than extract.
  • Cool the Cookies Completely Before Decorating! The one mistake I read about a lot is impatience.  Have you ever tried decorating warm cookies?  Icing and just about everything falls off and melts away.  Have a little patience and wait until everything is completely cooled before drizzling with chocolate.
  • Baking Your Cookies. Bake one sheet pan at a time with the rack in the middle of the oven. This ensures that the cookies are evenly heated and don't cook too quickly on the bottom or the top. Don't forget to preheat! When your oven is hot your cookies will cook more evenly in the correct amount of time.
  • Best Buttery Flavor. Use a high-quality unsalted butter and don't forget to let it sit at room temperature to soften before mixing. This ensures the butter easily blends with the flour and sugar creating a smooth cookie dough. Shortbread is known for its buttery flavor so this is not the recipe to prepare using a lower-quality butter.


Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.4mg