Shortbread has been popular for hundreds of years, and the basic recipe has more or less remained the same. The name is derived from the ingredients in the recipe. The addition of a “shortening” (or any fat, but in this case butter) to the flour creates a more crumbly product, as is desired with shortbread. The more fat you add, the “shorter” you make your dough. In its origins, shortbread was a fancy, expensive treat; mostly reserved for special occasions and holidays.
The best part about shortbread cookies is that they are really difficult to mess up. The recipe has so few ingredients that you should already have everything stocked at home. The only differences come from your own personal preferences. You can choose how thick or thin you want to slice your cookies, how long you want to leave them in the oven, and even the mix-ins or toppings you add!
I chose the flavors for this recipe based mostly on the current season, spring! Honey and lemon are a combination that work well together and also embody the flavors of the season. However, anything floral, like lavender or rose, also works well for spring. If you make these cookies in the fall or winter, it might be nice to dip them in a cinnamon or maple glaze instead. Or try out these perfect-for-winter chai spice cookies that Vasili posted in December. In the summer, try using fresh berries or tropical fruits. Of course, it’s not imperative to let the season dictate your flavor choices, but it can be easier to get ahold of certain ingredients while they are in season.
The macadamia nut adds a subtle flavor but more importantly a nice texture. I also experimented with mixing the chopped nuts into the dough for each cookie, but ultimately decided to sprinkle on top for aesthetics. Depending on the flavors you choose for your icing or glaze, you may want to use a different nut or try something completely different, like sprinkles.
- 1 c. butter (softened)
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp honey
- 2 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- Lemon Honey Glaze
- 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
- 1/2 c. chopped macadamia nuts
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in honey and mix in well.
- Gradually add the flour and salt, stirring to combine after each addition. If the dough isn't sticking together, add a bit more flour.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and separate it into two halves onto two pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap.
- Shape each half of dough into a log with the desired width of your cookies. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- Slice each log about 1/4 inch thick (or to your preference) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 325 F for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan for 5 minutes and then remove and place on cooling rack.
- Stir together the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Dip each cooled cookie into the glaze and lay on a piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts.
Recipe adapted from Tide & Thyme.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.