These easy, melt in your mouth 3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies, are a must for every Holiday Cookie Tray. All you need is flour, butter and sugar, cut out or roll and slice, they will be loved by all.
If I were to say my favourite Christmas Cookie has got to be shortbread. I love it so much, I have quite a few recipes on the blog with a couple more ready to be posted. I think I have made a shortbread for almost every taste imaginable. Although probably not as I will keep on searching and creating more.
My friend is always telling me you have to make shortbread with just 3 ingredients, just like her Mom did and she does now. So after reading a little on the origin of shortbread I discovered that the British like to use fruit sugar or Caster sugar rather than icing/powdered sugar. So I decided to half the recipe and make half with fruit sugar and half with icing sugar.
- Butter – I use salted softened
- Sugar – Powdered/Icing sugar or Caster/Fruit sugar
- Flour – all purpose with at least 11% protein
What is fruit/caster sugar?
Caster or also known as superfine sugar, baker’s sugar or bar sugar is a super fine ground sugar that is between the consistency of granulated sugar and powdered/icing sugar. It is possible to make your own, just blend until finely ground but not powdered.
How to make the cookies
In the stand up mixer with the paddle attachment or large bowl, cream the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until the dough starts to come together.
On a lightly floured flat surface gently form the cookie dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate.
With a rolling pin roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut out with your favourite cookie cutters. Place on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate while the oven is pre-heating.
Bake until the edges are just starting to turn lightly golden. Let cool for a bit on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to completely cool. Be sure to let the shortbread cool completely before eating, because they really do taste better.
The difference between the two shortbreads?
The fruit sugar produced a softer dough, which was a bit harder to roll out. I would probably form this shortbread dough into a roll before wrapping in plastic and chilling, and then just slice and bake the cookies, that way I wouldn’t need to use too much extra flour to roll them out without sticking.
The powdered sugar produced a firmer dough which made it much easier to roll out, because I didn’t need to use a lot of extra flour, which made it the perfect dough for making cut out cookies.
Not only does a higher protein flour at 12% or higher help keep the dough from spreading too much which is essential when making cut out cookies, but using Icing sugar will also help too.
Once the cookies are baked you can’t tell which cookie was made with which sugar, unless you are comparing size because they look very similar. And as far as taste goes I preferred the powdered/icing sugar shortbread. Although not by much because the fruit sugar ones were also very good. I think it just depends on taste.
How to keep the cookies from spreading
To keep the cookies from spreading for some cookies including some icing sugar in the mixture also keeps the cookies from spreading.
And probably most important of all, is to use a higher protein flour with at least 11.5- 12% protein count.
And don’t forget to chill the dough for at least 1 hour and again before baking while the oven is pre-heating. Using most of these will help produce the perfect Shortbread Cookies.
How to store
The baked cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. I sometimes store mine in the fridge because I like cold cookies. They will last up to 10 days by storing them in the fridge.
How to Freeze Shortbread Cookies
To freeze the shortbread cookies, place parchment paper in between the layers of the completely cooled cookies this prevents them from sticking together when they are in the containers for freezing, or you can also place the baked cooled cookies on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then move the frozen cookies to either airtight bags or containers. Baked Shortbread Cookies will last up to a month in the freezer.
To thaw the cookies be sure to remove the frozen cookies from the bags or containers (this way no condensation will form) and let them thaw at room temperature. In our house no one waits for them to thaw!
More Shortbread Cookie Recipes
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Whipped Shortbread
- Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cookie Cups
- Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
So if you are looking for a very traditional Shortbread Recipe I hope you try these 3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies and let me know how they went and what sugar you used. Enjoy!
3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter*
- 1/2 cup icing/powdered or caster/fruit sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour**
*Salted butter makes this a 3 ingredient recipe if you prefer you can use unsalted but add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt.
**Be sure your flour is at least 11% protein, any less and the cookies will spread.
- In the stand up mixer or with a hand beater cream the butter and sugar for a 1-2 minutes or until light and fluffy.Add the flour and mix on low just until the dough starts to come together.
- On a lightly floured flat surface gently form the dough into a ball (see note). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
- Roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut out with your favourite cookie cutters. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and refrigerate while the oven is pre-heating.
- Pre-heat oven to 325F (160C).
- Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn lightly golden. Let cool for a bit on the cookie sheet then move to a wire rack to completely cool. Be sure to let the shortbread cool completely before eating, because they really do taste better. Enjoy!