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Grandma's Shortbread with Variations

This is for you shortbread purists. You don't have to use a shortbread mold (although they do look nice displayed in your kitchen). Shortbread tastes just as good when made in an ordinary cake pan. This is easy to make, and it's a toothsome treat everyone will love.

I made the Lemon Shortbread variation pictured at right by adding a mere 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest and a little extra sugar. Delicious! Note more variations below.

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegetable cooking spray
Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a 9-inch round or square cake pan (or shortbread mold) by spraying it lightly with vegetable cooking spray.

Cream butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla.

At low speed of mixer, begin adding flour slowly. Mixture will be thick. Turn mixture out onto unfloured surface, and knead until thoroughly mixed. You should have a smooth, stiff dough.

Press the dough into the prepared pan or shortbread mold, and prick entire surface with fork.

Bake at 325°F for 30 to 35 minutes. It should be lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen edges with knife and invert pan onto cutting board. Shortbread may be coaxed out by tapping edge of pan. Makes 4 servings.

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 30-35 minutes; Total time: 50-55 minutes

Recipe editor

Chocolate Shortbread

To original recipe, add 1-1/2 tablespoons cocoa, and increase sugar to 1/2 cup and vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon.

Orange Shortbread

To original recipe, add 2 teaspoons grated orange peel, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and increase sugar to 1/2 cup.

Lemon Shortbread

To original recipe, add 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest and increase sugar to 1/2 cup.
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