Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
5 Hours 15 Mins
Makes 4 dozen

How to Make It

Step 1

Beat 1 cup softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 3/4 cup powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and almond extract until blended.

Step 2

Stir together 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, and 1/8 tsp. salt.

Step 3

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

Step 4

Shape shortbread dough into 2 (7-inch) logs. Wrap each log in wax paper, and chill 4 hours, or freeze logs in zip-top plastic freezer bags up to 1 month.

Step 5

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 6

If frozen, let logs stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cut each log into 24 slices. Place shortbread slices 1 inch apart on lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Step 7

Bake shortbread slices at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of slices are golden.

Step 8

Remove shortbread from baking sheets, and place on wire racks; let cool completely (about 20 minutes). Store in airtight containers.

Step 9

Easy Variations:

Step 10

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies: Stir in 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1 Tbsp. orange zest with extracts in Step

Step 11

Pecan Shortbread Cookies: Omit almond extract. Stir in 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans with vanilla in Step

Step 12

Toffee-Espresso Shortbread Cookies: Omit almond extract. Stir in 1/2 cup almond toffee bits and 1 Tbsp. espresso powder with vanilla in Step

Step 13

Coconut-Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies: Omit almond extract. Stir in 1 cup toasted coconut, 1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts, and 1/4 tsp. coconut extract with vanilla in Step

Ratings & Reviews

lrickey's Review

December 06, 2013
These are fabulous! I've made them for Christmas every year since the recipe appeared in Southern Living. I have requests for these every year, the cranberry orange and coconut macadamia are the favorites - but they are all wonderful (although I have never made the plain version with no additions.....) I have frozen the logs with great results.

myzkyti's Review

February 05, 2013
These are amazing. I am fairly new to baking, and I found these simple and straightforward to make, and they come out perfect every time! The first time I made them, I didn't have any almond extract, so I just added extra vanilla and it was fine. I tried the Mocha Shortbread recipe (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/mocha-chocolate-shortbread-10000000653496/) and it wasn't nearly as good, so I came back to this recipe and added a packet of Starbucks Via to it, and got a much better result. I made several dozen for the holidays, and continue to come back for more!

cfreedell's Review

December 19, 2012
Glad I found this recipe again! It was my "go to" recipe right after it appeared in the magazine. I was intrigued by the cranberry version--left out the orange zest but added white chocolate chips--good sweet/tangy combo and got good reviews from the people I gave them to. Also like that this doesn't call for eggs; typically have all the other items in my pantry all the time. I'm going to try the toffee version next.

Barkly's Review

January 01, 2010
Very good, but doesn't quite compare with shortbread in the British Isles! Made the pecan version, however was short on pecans, so used 3/4 c pecans, 1/4 c walnuts. Toasting nuts is definitely worth the time. I experimented -- froze in 4 3 1/2 logs. Immediately froze to see if quality suffered. Worked just fine. I'll try other versions and see this as a good "tea biscuit" or similar use.

cwbyrum's Review

December 16, 2009
Baked the cranberry-orange variation for the church bake sale, and I've already had requests for the recipe. Easy and delicious!

jane25's Review

December 11, 2009
I have made this recipe about 10 times to use for 2 different cookie exchanges. They are easy and yummy. I have made all variations but the cranberry-orange is my favorite. I do sprinkle just a bit of powdered sugar on top.

Gillian1's Review

December 06, 2009
Made the coconut-macadamia version, everyone loved it. Making the pecan version today. My oven must be running a bit cooler than it should, they took longer to cook than they should have. I'm going to try 375 degrees today.