Shortbread Cookies-A Scottish Favorite

As a Scot, shortbread was the first thing I learned to bake. Growing up during the war in Scotland, sugar, butter (and everything else!) was severely rationed and families saved and saved to be able to bake a few treats for Christmas.
Shortbread was always at the top of the list. I have to tell you about one year when the shortbread was a disaster. In those days we didn't have supermarkets where everything was prepackaged as it is today. You went to the store and the grocer weighed out what you wanted, be it sugar, salt, flour, split peas, tea, etc.
Mother-Ruth (TOP)-Me-Gran
Everything came in identical blue bags, neatly folded at the top but, of course, there were no labels. Well, one year my grandmother made the shortbread but when we tasted it.....she had mistaken the salt for the sugar!

As with many ethnic recipes, you will find that every family has its own variation. With shortbread, some families use cornstarch with the flour, others use fine cornflour. I have changed our family recipe a little over the years to include rice flour as I find it adds a delicious "shortness". I hope you will enjoy it.

Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies                                       


1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
1/2 lb. butter (two sticks)
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  1. Combine sugar and orange peel in food processor and pulse several times to blend. Add salt and pulse. Add butter and process until creamy and light. 
  2. Add plain flour and process until combined. 
  3. Add rice flour and process until a ball forms. There will probably be some dough that is still loose. 
  4. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead with your hands until dough forms a smooth ball. Divide dough in two and form each half into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on waxed paper and use a cookie sheet to help "tighten" the roll. 
  5. Refrigerate until firm - 1 - 2 hours. I save the tubes from paper towels, waxed paper, etc. and place the rolls in there to chill since it keeps them round. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  7. Slice the cookies a generous 1/4 inch thick and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until just beginning to take on some color. 
  8. Cool on the sheets for a minute or two then place on cooling racks to cool completely. 
  9. Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate and when the cookies are cooled, dip them half way in the chocolate and place on waxed paper to set.



  1. Hello from Bayern (Germany)
    I read Your story and for a few seconds I saw me again in my grandmothers house. This cookies look so tasty ::::mmmhhhh.
    I´m a mum of 5 boys and 3 girls between 18years and 4 month old. Oh yes,we love cookies. In Germany we bake traditionel only for christmas- but since a few years,a lot of people began to bake cookies; shortbread; scones ....
    You can buy cookies in every little supermarket- but they never taste the same as the selfmade. Thank you so much for this block . Its written with love.
    Thank you so much
    Mama Mia (with a very bad school english-sorry)

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely note. It makes me so happy to know that these recipes are being passed on.
      Incidentally - your English is excellent!