Grandma’s Scotch Shortbread

My grandmother left Scotland when she was 16 years old. She and her family eventually ended up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This is my grandmother’s family recipe for Scotch shortbread. In Scotland every family made shortbread, but each seemed to have its own proportions of butter, flour, and sugar. This shortbread is very rich—one piece is quite filling for me. It’s perfect for a simple dessert, tea, or a coffee break.


1 cup butter, softened  (1 cup = 2 cubes, 2 sticks, or 8 oz.)
10 tablespoons sugar
3 cups flour


Mix butter and sugar with fork until blended. Stir into the sugar mixture two and one-half cups flour. Knead the dough five to ten minutes, adding remaining flour as you knead. Knead the mixture until the dough sticks together. Put the dough into a metal, ungreased pan. Press down with your knuckles. Prick the dough with a fork to the bottom of the pan in frequent intervals. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut while warm.

Hints: If you use a 9 x 9 inch pan, the shortbread will be quite thick. If you prefer a thin, crunchier version, you can put the dough in a larger pan (e.g. 9 x 13). Our family prefers the former version. To store shortbread, use a tin that has been lined with wax paper. It should last for a few weeks. (In our family, we must also hide the tins, so the shortbread will last until the holidays.