Classic Buttery Shortbread Cookies

shortbread cookies
Last week we visited an old farm and attended a maple sugaring demonstration. It was great fun and there were lots of children in the audience. The man explaining how maple sugaring works, was extremely pleasant and worked hard to engage the children and have them actively participate in tapping the trees for syrup. “What is sap?” he asked.


One boy yelled out an answer. Then another. Then, a third. None of the answers were quite right so he provided an explanation.

He then asked, another question about trees and more boys yelled out answers. Again, he gently corrected their incorrect answers and moved on to participation portion of the experience.

“Who wants to get the bucket?” the farmer said.

“I will!” yelled one boy.

“No, I want to!” yelled another.

As they pushed there way through the crowd, a mother looked at her daughter and said, “get out of your brother’s way.”

Then it hit me. Through the entire 60 minute activity not one little girl said a thing. Not one girl spoke up. Not one girl participated. 

I remembered back to when I taught my first course. One day I asked the students for feedback. After class, a young woman took me aside and said, “This is my favorite course. But, I have to tell you – you never call on the women in class.”


I never call on the women in class? How was that even possible? I’m female. I support equal rights and opportunities for women (and, contrary to media hype, that is the definition of feminism). Wow. Talk about a blind spot.

I can’t help but be amazed at how we can silence others without even knowing it. Many of you are parents. How often do you see this happen? 

While you mull it over, I’ll tell you about the cookies. Shortbread happens to be my weakness. When I finally settled in to make the shortbread, I discovered that many of the recipes out there are dry and bland. Then, I concocted this recipe recipe for classic buttery shortbread cookies. Let’s just say there will be no more store bought shortbread in this house.

Classic Buttery Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c cake flour

8 0z butter, room temperature

1/3 c sugar

1/4 c powdered sugar

2 tbs. dark brown sugar

3 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F 180 C

Measure and sift all purpose flour and cake flour together, twice. Set aside.

In a food processor, blend granulated sugar, powdered sugar and dark brown sugar until well mixed and fine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and add sugar. Mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and mix. Add flour and mix on low speed until the mixture begins to come together as a dough.

Place the dough into glass baking dish. Wrap your hand in plastic wrap and use it to spread the dough out and press it into the dish. Look at the bottom of the glass pan and make sure there are no gaps or pockets in the dough. Press the dough so that it is smooth, level and uniform. Dock the dough with a fork.

 Bake for 25-35 minutes or until light golden brown on the bottom and edges.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 5 strips lengthwise and 3 strips across. Only remove the shortbread from the pan until after it cools completely.



Bon appétit! 

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  1. Yes! This happens often. We need to encourage girls to speak up more. I also love shortbread this looks heavenly!

  2. It has been so cold here that I forgot it is sugaring season! As a mother of a very young boy I think about this a lot and hope that I can raise him to believe in and encourage equal opportunities for women.

    1. It has been so cold Anna. We’re lucky we made it our on one of the slightly warmer days. Congratulations on your new baby boy!

  3. I think that is a very good observation on your part, sometimes we just don’t realize how we might affect someone and everyone is different. Now on to the cookies, shortbreads are my favorite and these look wonderful.

    1. Thanks Liz. I think it’s pretty common. Social norms are pervasive and unless someone is aware, it happens. Thankfully, awareness can change behavior.

  4. I’ve been thinking a lot about how voices are silenced, El, particularly as people from my past who did that to me have emerged in recent weeks. It’s been healing to know they don’t have that power anymore. I made shortbread this week too. 🙂

  5. What an interesting topic! I used to teach a long time ago and all I can remember are the little girls’ hands going up to answer questions 🙂 Certainly food for thought.

    Shortbread cookies are one of my all-time favorites! Yours look flaky and so delicious.

  6. Stunning photography and love the tea cup! I’m also a shortbread devotee though I usually end up buying Walkers. I guess I’ll try this recipe now. I think it depends on the situation girls are in but I definitely agree it’s something to keep an eye on. Who wants a bunch of boys taking over anyway!

  7. El, the beauty of these photographs struck me like lightening, a friendly one, one that lights up and nourishes the soul. I wished I could come to her home and spy on you to learn how you create this absolutely delightful look. I am really smitten, I am in awe! Thank you for sharing your world.

    I have three girls (and one very sweet boy), and I have observed the same as you just did. I will come back to this, right now, I am too tired to get my thoughts together.

    Thank you and good night,

    1. Merisi, Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I’m interested in hearing what you have to say.

  8. Thankfully, both my boys are in school with some courageous and smart girls who don’t hesitate to raise a hand or share an opinion. Something we must definitely encourage and support! And your cookies look absolutely delicious…and your photo styling is such eye candy as well. Cheers!

  9. What an interesting observation on your part, I don’t know how many others would have noticed. It saddens me the subtle ways that we as a society continue to silence our young girls, I bet that mother doesn’t realize the impact of her words.

  10. It’s hard not to like buttery shortbread cookies! I made some myself recently, too, and had to practice super human self-control not to eat them all (the solution was to give most of it away to friends).

    As for the serious matter you brought up, you made me realize that I should be more conscious, too, in my actions and not inadvertently silence someone else’s voice. So thanks for that reminder 🙂

  11. What s the name of the beautiful teacup and saucer you have used in the photo of your delicious shortbread cookies?

  12. Lovely. Who is the manufacturer and what s the name of the beautiful teacup and saucer that you use in the photos of your delicious shortbread cookies?

    1. I’ve since packed it away in the basement. I’ll let you know as soon as I can find it again!

  13. I must say, I went to a women’s college years ( and years ago). We didn’t have the competition with the boys that most people have in public schools. Our college was number two in the country because our student teacher ratio was 2:1. It was progressive and gave us a really good start in life. We developed the courage to speak up and explore our world. By today’s standards, I suppose it would be considered old-fashioned, but I wouldn’t give up that experience for the world. Our dormitory was a non-sectarian seminary which allowed us to develop the spiritual side of life which is unheard of today, unfortunately. It was a unique experience.

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