Guest Post: Great Grandma’s Short Bread Four Ways


Below is a Baking Medic first – a guest post! My amazing mum has written out my family’s recipe for shortbread, a classic Christmas cookie. I have really fond memories of my Grandma making it, and I just hope there are still some left over by the time I get home for Christmas!

The short bread is made using a very old family recipe originating at least in the 1930’s and perhaps older.  Kris’s great grandmother would make this recipe at Christmas and the tradition has carried on in the family.  It is a simple recipe of three ingredients but is a little different than traditional shortbread.  It was made without the use of electricity so wooden spoons and wood fired ovens were the order of the day.

Great Grandma’s Short Bread:


  • 1 pound butter – this must be very soft and needs to be left out to soften for at least 24 hours in a warm room
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar – brown not white or icing sugar and this also gives it a lovely flavor
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour


  1. Mix the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until well combined and creamy.
  2. Add the flour and mix until well combined.
  3. Now for the secret of really good shortbread, mix the dough with bare warm hands until it is light and fluffy.  This is what makes it taste really good!
  4. Roll the dough into teaspoon sized ball or larger as you prefer and place on a cookie sheet.  Flatten the cookies with either a press or a fork.  Bake at 375 for 10 to 14 minutes until just starting to go golden on the bottoms.  Do not over bake.
  5. Alternately, the dough can be rolled into logs and refrigerated until firm and then sliced and baked.


In the photo there are 3 variations alongside the plain old fork crisscross cookie.  One is a rolled cookie dusted with icing sugar.  Another is a rolled cookie with finely chopped dried cherries mixed in and finally a ball cookie is flattened and a bit of dark truffle is pushed in the centre of the cookie as soon as it is out of the oven.