Lesson 4 of 27
In Progress

Shortbreads | Learn

Introduction:

Shortbreads are a dense, buttery cookie. And thanks to all of the butter, they are very rich, so a little goes a long way. Oftentimes, you will see them paired with a bold flavor- ie fruit spreads, chocolate, coffee, or fruits and nuts. Or you can just eat them plain, too. Without any leavening, these cookies don’t rise in the oven, so what you put in the oven is exactly what you’ll have when you pull them out. However this three ingredient cookie is ideal for teaching you the basics of baking from scratch.

Difficulty Level: Easy

What you need to know:

Let’s start our baking-from-scratch adventure with shortbreads! They’re an ideal beginner cookie because, while they aren’t complicated to throw together, they are delicious. Shortbread cookies consist of three basic ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour. These are building block ingredients that will become your best friend if you spend any time in the kitchen; so now is the perfect time to get acquainted with them.

Now, the order that you add your ingredients matters. First, you cream together the butter and the sugar. Then, you add the flour to the batter. Do you remember PEMDAS from math class? (It’s totally fine if the answer is no.) Baking is a lot like math: your numbers have to be accurate (aka your measurements MUST be correct) and the order that you perform your functions (aka the order you combine your ingredients) is vital to your overall success.

Always follow the recipe to ensure your cookies come out correctly.

Another aspect that’s important to the success of your recipe is the temperature of your ingredients. A shortbread-specific example is the temperature of your butter. If your butter is too hard, then your mixer will have a hard time beating it. But if it’s totally melted, the consistency of your cookie batter will be too liquidy and the individual cookies won’t be able to hold their shape. Ideally, you want the butter to be room temperature. However, if you do decide to microwave it (which isn’t a big deal, I do it all the time), you have to do so carefully. Microwave the butter in 10 or 15 second increments and constantly check to see if you’re happy with it’s consistency.

Now, onto some baking tips. Don’t overcook these cookies. If you’re unsure whether they’re done or not, err on the side of undercooked. They’re much better if they’re a little softer rather than crunchy and overcooked. That being said, these cookies can quickly go from being ‘not done yet’ to overcooked. This is due to how much butter is in the cookie dough. A double edged sword, the high fat content is what makes the cookies so tasty. But it’s also what makes the cookies brown so quickly.

If you’re worried about accidentally overcooking your cookies, set your timer for less time than the recipe suggests. Then, when your timer goes off, check your cookies. If they aren’t ready yet, add time in conservative, one minute increments. This will (hopefully) ensure that you’re happy with your finished cookies.

That’s enough book learning for now. Next, I need you to try it for real!

I’ve picked out a super simple, super easy, and (naturally) super delicious shortbread recipe for you to try at home! Now, this Raspberry Thumbprint recipe only has a few ingredients, but it will immediately propel you into your kitchen and get you cooking from scratch. How awesome is that?! Hey- stop worrying! You’ve got this. In fact, just to help you out, I’ll be making one too! I’ve included a video of me making this exact recipe. So watch what I do, listen as I walk you through each step, and just follow the recipe. Do that and you should have delectable, homemade cookies in no time.

Simply click into the next section to get started!