Rolled shortbread cookies are the ones that scream Christmas to me. These are one of two types of holiday cookies I make every single year. The other ones are my whipped shortbread cookies. It’s no surprise that these are also the two types of cookies my Nana always makes every year too.
These are the ones I always snuck into the kitchen to steal when no one was looking. My Nana has always topped them with a slice of red or green candied cherries, so I’ve always done it too. I don’t know if I could ever eat one without a piece of cherry, it wouldn’t seem right.
It’s the first cookies the kids ask me to make every year. They even talked my into making shortbread bats for Halloween this year, lol. I’ve got to say, it definitely gives me the warm fuzzies seeing the love for these cookies going strong four generations in (at least four generations, I don’t know where Nana got the recipe from).
Classic Shortbread Flavour
Even though the style may be different than you’re used to, these rolled shortbread cookies have the classic flavour you want. They are buttery and crisp, with just a hint of salt. For a little extra sweetness, I always dust the top of them with a little white sugar before they go in the oven.
Another thing I love about these cookies is how long they last. We keep our Christmas cookies in the garage in the winter, so they stay nice and cold. Put these in a big airtight container, and they’ll keep for weeks for you like that!
Tips for Perfect Rolled Shortbread Cookies
I’m not going to knock traditional shortbread cookies at all. There is definitely something to be said for making a dough you can just press into a pan or a circle and bake. Less work, but it’s just not the same. Rolled shortbread cookies take just a little bit of getting used to handling, but once you do, they’re a breeze to make.
The most important thing is to really cream the butter and sugar together! The longer you let this go, the lighter and fluffier it will become. I let the mixer go for somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes. You want it to be a very pale yellow, and super fluffy looking. The fluffier it is, the easier it will be to roll.
After you add in the flour, the dough should be very soft and easy to squish in your hands. It shouldn’t be sticky, but you should be thinking that it is almost too wet still. This is because you will want to be able to flour your countertop really, really well so that the cookies are easy to roll, cut, and move to your cookie sheets.
Substitutions You Can Try
I’m going to add a bunch of info in the notes of the rolled shortbread cookie recipe for you. If you want the cookies to be slightly more melt-in-your-mouth, you can do half granulated sugar, and half powdered sugar. Granulated sugar adds more air when creaming with the butter, so the cookies will be crisper if you only use it.
My Nana likes to use half butter, and half margarine. It makes the dough a little bit easier to work with, without as much mixing. If you only have unsalted butter in the house, you can just add 1 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
Other Must-Make Christmas Cookies
I absolutely love holiday baking, so it’s no surprise that I’ve got a mile long list of favourites at this point. Here are a few I think you’ve love though:
These cookie press shortbread just melt in your mouth with buttery goodness, and are the easiest Christmas cookies I make! These are the other cookies from my Nana that get made every year too!
These soft and chewy ginger cookies are another staple of our Christmas cookie lineup. A soft, chewy center with crisp, caramelized edges and so flavourful! I started making these a couple years ago, and I couldn’t imagine a Christmas without them now!
Rolled Shortbread Cookie Recipe
I really hope you give these rolled shortbread cookies a go this holiday season. I’m so sure they’ll instantly become a family favourite for you. Don’t forgot those candied cherry slices on top!
- 1 pound salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup white granulated sugar, plus more for dusting the tops
- 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- Red and green candied cherries cut in half (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
- Put the butter and 1 cup granulated sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium high for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.
- Slowly mix in the flour. The dough should be very soft, but not stick to your hands.
- Flour your countertop very well. Split your dough in half, and shape it into a rough disk using your hands. Roll the dough out to 1/4" thick, flouring your rolling pin and the top of the dough as necessary.
- Cut into shapes and transfer to your prepared baking sheets. Lightly dust the tops with more granulated sugar, and add a candied cherry slice if you're using them.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly puffed and the edges are just starting to turn golden.
- Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling completely.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to three weeks.
Salted vs Unsalted Butter
If you only have unsalted butter in your kitchen, simply add 1 teaspoon of salt.
For a more "melt in your mouth" texture
If you would like a slightly more "melt in your mouth" texture, use 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
For a slightly easier to work with dough
You can use 1 cup of softened salted butter, and 1 cup of margarine (instead of 1 pound of butter) if you want the dough to be a bit easier to mix and handle. This is Nana's go-to.
ROLLING & RE-ROLLING
Make sure that your countertop, rolling pin, and the top of the dough are well floured when rolling. It will make it much easier for you to cut and transfer the cookies to the baking sheets after. For easy transfer from the counter to the cookie sheets, I use a 1" wide offset spatula.
This dough is easy to work with, and the scraps can be re-rolled a few times. If you find it's getting too dry, wet your hands and then just lightly knead for a few seconds.