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Scottish shortbread is a beloved classic that has been enjoyed for centuries. With its rich, buttery flavour and crumbly texture, this simple cookie is a testament to the beauty of minimalist baking.

Scottish shortbread is surprisingly easy to prepare at home, made with just a few essential ingredients. Let’s explore how to make this timeless treat.

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Traditional Scottish shortbread requires only four main ingredients:

The simplicity of these ingredients is key to the authentic taste and texture of Scottish shortbread.


  1. Prepare the pan: Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal.
  2. Mix dry ingredients: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  3. Add butter: Cut room-temperature butter into cubes and add to the dry mixture.
  4. Form the dough: Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs but is still soft and pliable.
  5. Press into pan: Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press it firmly and evenly.
  6. Score and chill: Prick the dough with a fork at 1-inch intervals. Score the surface into desired shapes (traditionally 2×1 inch bars). Chill for at least 2 hours.
  7. Bake: Preheat the oven to 175°C. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  8. Cool and cut: Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cut along the scored lines. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.

Tips for Perfect Shortbread


While traditional Scottish shortbread is delicious on its own, you can add flavours for variety:

However, purists might argue that these additions detract from the classic simplicity of true Scottish shortbread.


Scottish shortbread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days. The flavour and texture often improve, making it an excellent make-ahead treat.

Cultural Significance

Shortbread has been a favourite in Scotland since the 12th century. Its name refers to its crumbly or “short” texture, resulting from the high butter content.

Traditionally, it was a luxury reserved for special occasions like Christmas, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), and weddings.

In conclusion, making traditional Scottish shortbread is a simple yet rewarding process. With just four ingredients and some patience, you can create a delectable treat that has stood the test of time.

Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea or given as a heartfelt gift, homemade Scottish shortbread will surely delight.

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