Holiday Shortbread Cookie Recipe

While we were growing up, every holiday season my mother would dig her beautiful stoneware baking pans out of a cupboard to make all sorts of holiday treats. One of the most simple was my favorite–classic shortbread cookies. They were addictive in their simplicity, practically melting in my mouth with each bite.

holiday shortbread cookies

Two years ago, my mother gifted us with a traditional shortbread pan for the holidays, and we made many batches of shortbread over the holidays each year ever since. This year, we experimented with the classic shortbread recipe she gave us, adding a few of our own ingredients to flavor, and we loved the results. These melt-in-your-mouth light and buttery shortbread cookies are lightly flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, brandy, and holiday cheer.

Holiday Shortbread Cookie Recipe
makes 8 to 16 cookies, depending on the cut of your molded pan


  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (do not sift)
  • 1/2 teaspoon brandy flavoring
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour (do not sift)

Preparation Instructions:

1. Let butter warm to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius).

3. While the oven is preheating, cream the butter with an electric hand-mixer until it is light in texture. Next, cream in the powdered sugar. Add the brandy flavoring, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cream together.

4. Slowly work in the flour until well mixed.

5. On an unfloured breadboard, knead the dough until it is very smooth in texture. Set aside.

6. Very lightly spray your stoneware shortbread pan with a non-stick vegetable oil. Firmly press the dough into the pan until even and well-seated. Prick all across the surface with a fork.

7. Bake the shortbread for about 30 minutes, or until just barely browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a baking rack for ten to fifteen minutes.

8. When it has cooled some, loosen around the edges of the pan with a knife, then flip the pan over, holding it closely over something to catch the cookies. Lightly tap the edge until the shortbread comes out. If it still sticks, reach under and lightly nudge the center of the shortbread with your fingers.

9. While it is still warm, cut it into cookie-sized pieces according to the lines on your pan mold.

10. Make sure to follow the care instructions for cleaning your stoneware pan. Enjoy!

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