Shortbread cookies – a mixture of flour, sugar, butter, and salt – are one of the easiest things you can bake. They’re also a blank canvas for add-ins and flavours so you can get let your mind run wild and rest assured that they contain enough butter and sugar to still taste great, should you go a little overboard with your creativity.
For this recipe I started with the flour, sugar, and fat ratios in Deb’s Olive Oil Shortbread with Chocolate and Rosemary from Smitten Kitchen Everyday, which I must say, is quite great as-is. I went back to basics with butter vs. olive oil, and stuck with the general dough-mixing process, but then took many liberties from that point on by adding white chocolate, pistachios, dried cranberries, and a saffron glaze. Overboard? I’ll let you decide. These were a hit with my family, but they’re used to the weirdness coming out of my kitchen, so you will have to try them and let me know what you think!
Looking for gluten-free shortbread cookies? Try Kris’ Gluten-free Toasted Coconut + Hazelnut Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies!
- 1.5 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (60 grams) icing sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup chopped white chocolate
- ¼ cup chopped shelled/unsalted pistachios
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp. orange blossom water (optional)
- a pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
- 1Tbsp. hot water
- 5 Tbsp. icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir until a crumbly mixture is formed. Make sure that all dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Empty the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and collect the crumbs with your hands to form a smooth ball.
- Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll the ball out into a large slab about 8-9 inches in diameter.
- Remove the top sheet and transfer the bottom parchment sheet with the large cookie onto a cookie sheet and into the oven.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until just starting to turn golden around the edges.
- While the shortbread bakes, make the glaze.
- Add a pinch of saffron to the hot water and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
- Add the bright yellow saffron water, along with the threads, to the icing sugar and stir to form a runny glaze. Adjust the consistency with more water or icing sugar, if necessary.
- Remove the shortbread from the oven and transfer to a cutting board (with the parchment paper) and cut into 1.5" squares while hot, gently pressing a large sharp chef's knife into the soft dough. Let the cookie cool.
- Place a cooling rack/grid over a piece of parchment paper (you can reuse the one you had on top of the dough), separate the squares, and place them on top of the rack.
- Use a small whisk to splash the cookies with glaze for the 'crazy painter' look. If you want something more composed, you can use a piping bag with a small round tip (or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off) to drizzle the cookies.
- Let the glaze set before serving.