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Rose Levy Beranbaum's Scottish Shortbread Cookies

January 27, 2019


These cookies from Rose Levy Beranbaum, aka the QUEEN, are BOMB. They’re mini cookies that taste like pie and are extremely flakey, buttery, not-too-sweet-at-all, with a tinge of salt in every bite! The rating is a 10 out of a dang 10. Also they’re pretty cute, they come out looking like a rustic little sun ray cookie.

This recipe is from her amazing book, Rose’s Baking Basics. I highly recommend the genius work.

Some tips: Turn off the heat in your house. I didn’t have heat in my terribly insulated house and the kitchen was 54 degrees and the butter that was used was 60 degrees. It was so cold, I had to shape and kneed the dough with my hands for a looong time!


Words from the Queen:

This versatile dough, consisting of just butter, sugar, and flour, has the purest taste of butter of all cookies. It can be shaped into traditional wedges, and also sereves as the base for Lemon Butter Squares. Although not traditional, I find that a pinch of salt elevates and counterpoints the buttery flavor. It is traditional, however, to bake at a very low temperature for a long time, which produces the special tender texture and perfectly even browning.

The recipe:

  • Makes 24 1.5 inch cookies (mine made about 20)
  • Oven Temperature: 275 degrees F / 135 degrees C
  • Baking Time: 55 - 65 minutes
  • Baking Equipment: Two 15 x 12 inch cookie sheets, no preparation needed or lined with parchment

This makes 355 grams dough


  • unsalted butter 142 grams OR 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
  • powdered sugar 14 grams OR 2 tablespoons
  • granulated sugar 25 grams OR 2 tablespoons
  • bleached (I use unbleached) all-purpose flour 181 grams OR 1.5 cups (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off)
  • fine sea salt (I use Kosher salt) a small pinch

Mise en place:

  • 30 minutes ahead, cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Wrap and regrigerate.

Preheat the oven:

  • 20 minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Set the oven at 275 degrees F / 135 degrees C.

Make the dough:

  • In a food processor, process the powdered and granulated sugars for 1 minute, or until the granulated sugar is very fine.
  • Add the butter and pulse until all the sugar disappears.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse until incorporated. The dough will be crumbly but will hold together when pinched.
  • Scrape the mixture into a plastic bag and, using your knuckles and the heels of your hands, press it together. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to knead it lightly just until it holds together.

Shape the cookies:

  • Measure out scant tablespoons of dough (about 14 grams each). Flatten each piece of dough between the palms of your handsm then roll it into a 1 inch round ball. (this keeps the dough from cracking when pressed flat).
  • Place each ball, right after rolling it, on one of the cookie sheets and flatten it with th eflat bottom of a glass tumbler, lightly moistened with water. (This didn’t work well for me, so I just flattened them with my hands). Use your fingers to press it gently into a 1.5 inch round. The cookies should be at least 1 inch apart.
  • Use the tines of a fork to press 3/8 inch lines around the edges and to prick holes in the centers.

Bake the cookies:

  • Bake for 30 minutes. For even baking, rotate the cookies sheets halfway around and exchange their positions from top to bottom. Continue baking for 25 to 35 minutes, or until pale gold.

Cool the cookies:

  • Set the cookie sheets on wire racks. Use a thin pancake turner to lift the cookies onto antoher wire rack. Cool completely.

Store airtight: room temperature or frozen, 3 months

Dats it! Enjoy :)