Whipped Shortbread Recipe
- 3 cups butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups cornstarch
- Nonpareils and/or halved candied cherries
- 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and cornstarch, beating until well blended.
- 2. With hands lightly dusted with additional cornstarch, roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press lightly with a floured fork. Top with nonpareils or cherry halves.
- 3. Bake at 300° for 20-22 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 16-18 dozen.
Test Kitchen Tips
1 cookie: 39 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 7mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.
Reviews for Whipped Shortbread
"No one can eat just one of these goodies around our house. They make excellent Christmas gifts in decorative tins with bows and ribbons!!!"
"This was so good!!! Make sure the butter is 100% softened (I left it out about 6 hours) and cream it really, really well between each step - I used my stand mixer on medium. I made exactly 1/3 of the recipe because cmon, 3 cups of butter! I'm not some kind of millionaire. Plus I was wary after reading the reviews :\ this would be great for a work potluck or the holidays though. I made them with lemon and vanilla extract and didn't add any sprinkles or toppings, and got rave reviews."
"I have literally made at least 100 dozen of these since finding this recipe before Christmas last year.....I tweaked it to my preferences and only make half a batch at a time....I use Arrowroot instead of cornstarch, add 2 tsp of almond or vanilla per half batch.....I do WHIP the butter and sugar....easy to make, I bake for 15 minutes in my oven....have used sprinkles, frosting, jam and powdered sugar for toppings and everyone raves. Best recipe EVER!"
"I tried this and it was awful. Threw them all away. They were dry and tasted like flour. I followed the recipe, whipped the butter and everything. When rolling them into balls I should have know something was wrong because they were so dry. Don't waste your time making these."
"I did not adjust anything as this recipe is excellent. My entire family loved them Thankyou"
"Hands down the BEST cornstarch cookie I've ever tasted. This stuff should be used as a commercial grade building material. Horrible. And, like some of the others, I'm now out of ingredients to make a batch of something else. My fault for assuming the 5 star reviews were of the recipe as-is. Guess I'll be doing more research (and buying extra ingredients) next time."
"The only tweak I did was add 4 cups of butter instead of only 3 and it was delicious! I could not stop eating them. I've also topped with a variety, chocolate kisses, strawberry jam or just green sugar sprinkles. Try not to over bake them. I am going to make them again with less cornstarch, will try what others are suggesting to only 1/2 a cup."
"I didn't need a whole batch for my family so I made 2/3 of the recipe. For 2/3 of recipe: 2 cups butter, 2 sifted cups powder sugar, 1 cup cornstarch, 3 cups flour, 2 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla. Keep refrigerated for a couple of days after baking, the flavor gets better as they age. They do just melt in your mouth!"
"Followed this recipe exactly and it was awful. We felt like we were eating pure corn starch. I suppose it's my own fault for just looking at the proportions of 5 star reviews vs. 1 star reviews. Just an FYI; if you had to alter/tweak a chunk of the recipe or add a bunch of additional ingredients, the recipe DOES NOT deserve the 5 star rating as a chunk of you seem to believe. I can't believe how many of those 5 stars included sentences along the lines of "recipe was great once I changed everything about it." I'm a little irked."
"Evidently no one read the instruction to beat the butter until smooth and light and then add the rest of the ingredients. These were fantastic cookies. My only change would be to add a little icing, but I got rave reviews served plain."
"I was going to try this recipe but it seemed off because of the corn starch glad I didn't try it"
"I didn't even try this as just looking at the recipe I knew it needed major tweaking. After reading the reviews, glad I didn't! Revise and post again...."
"What a waste! Wish I would have read the reviews >:( terrible my family at least got a kick out of how bad they were"
"Not a good cookie. Extremely dry, impossible to form into balls. A waste of my time and 3 cups of butter !Jean"
"This recipe needs some major adjustments. I halved the recipe because I did not need all those cookies, but the cornstarch is way too much. The cookie takes way longer than the prescribed time to cook, otherwise it crumbles as it is taken off the cookie sheet after the prescribed 5 minute wait. I added 1 tsp almond extract to the half recipe and the flavor was still overwhelmingly bland and thick in your mouth due to the amount of cornstarch. I chose this recipe so I wouldn't need a cookie press, but this is a fail in my opinion."
"I don't usually write a review for a recipe, but this time...WARNING! Do not use the amounts from the recipe. I tried the dough and thought, yuck. I tried the cookie and could not eat a whole cookie. Way off on cornstarch here and could use more sugar base too. The texture was okay if the two could be corrected. What a shame to waste the ingredients...just garbage now."
"I don't usually leave reviews but these were awful! I followed the recipe exactly and they weren't cooked after the time stated, they were also so crumbly I couldn't transfer them off the sheet and onto the rack as they simply disintegrated to the touch. This could've all been forgiven if not for the taste. They left a very bitter taste in my mouth after trying the smallest bite. Bit annoyed as was making these as a treat for my daughters teachers and no ingredients left to do another batch!"
"This definitely needed some editing. I used 3 cups of butter, 1 3/4 cp powdered sugar, only 1/2 cp of cornstarch, 4 1/2 cp flour. I added 1 tbsp vanilla and 1 tbsp almond extract. I also added about 1/2 tsp salt. They turned out very light and airy and had a great flavor. I chilled the dough in between batches that were in the oven. Very pretty cookie! I did bake at 350 for approximately 8-9 mins until the edges were a light golden brown."
"I read the reviews AFTER I started. I couldn't believe that the only moisture in this is in the butter. So, I reduced the cornstarch to 1/2 cup and added about 3/4 cup of condensed milk that was left over from another recipe. Fantastic! Very light and delicious! Make these adjustments and your cookies will become a family favorite."
"Just made these and they turned out AMAZING. Full disclosure I made them last night too and it was a disaster because I screwed up the ratio. This time I halved the recipe, and added an addition 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tbsp of vanilla to compensate for the reviews that said these didn't have any flavor. I then baked them at 300 for 18 minutes and let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing them and placing them on a cooling rack. The half batch made about 40 cookies. I plan to make these annually!!!"
"These turned out great! I only made half a batch. I didn't need 100 cookies but I ended up with 60. I would definitely make them again."
"Should thought a bit before choosing this recipe. 4 1/2 cups flour to 3 CUPS butter with a cup and half of corn starch should have been a big red flag! Try at least 5 cups of flour, to compensate for the corn starch, so they would hold some shape. And, not very tasty. And the bottoms never get brown at 300 degrees. You need at least 325 degrees to bake these for a minimum of 25 minutes. So much for melt in your mouth, when they were just so dry and disintegrated in your mouth. They did not resemble a shortbread in any way. Too much fuss for not much of a cookie."
"Just made this recipe to add to my Christmas cookies for when the kidlets and their littles come over. LOVE IT!!! Reminds me of the shortbread my mom made when I was little! My only issue is the yield. I may have rolled my dough balls SLIGHTLY larger, but it only made 6 dozen...I didn't roll them THAT big! lol Regardless, I will be adding it to our yearly cookie tray!"
"Lovely! Kinda' like eating talcum powder and just as tasty!;)"
"You need to check this recipe!!! It is horrible to say the least. What recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch? You need to correct this recipe aASAP.1"
"These cookies are a lot of work and taste terrible. Would not make them again!"
"I melt my butter to liquid and add more icing sugar then cornstarch only 1/4 per batch it literally is like placed whipped cream in balls on a cookie sheet. and only cook them for 13 min. just enough for a golden brown bottom and outer edge!"
"These are awful I just threw them in the garbage. WAY too much cornstarch. I give it zero stars"
"These have a nice flavor but as soon as u touch them they turn to powder. Very disappointing."
"This cookies needs alittle more taste....less butter .."
"I love these cookies, but would like to know if I could substitute splenda for the powdered sugar."
"As written, I found this recipe very bland. I rate it 5 stars with the following changes: 3 cups butter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar (if you like a sweeter cookie, use 2 cups), 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond flavor. This made a light, buttery, melt-in-your mouth cookie that tastes wonderful. I dipped mine in melted dark chocolate once cool and they were excellent. Also good unadorned."
"I completely agree with Heather. I don't know how anyone could rate this recipe with 4 stars!. Very bland and a mildly unpleasant texture in the mouth. They're not horrible, but I'm not sure I'll be serving these. They look fabulous though! I added vanilla, a little more sugar, a little less corn starch per the previous reviews and still, they're not as yummy as store-bought shortbread. Glad I cut the recipe in half."
"This is not a traditional shortbread cookie at all. Shortbread cookies or biscuits are 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour. and should taste buttery with a hint of sweetness. Sometimes, depending on the recipe a dash of salt is added. Cornstarch technically should make the dough drier and lighter but at 1.5 C it's overpowering and destroys the lovely flavor of the shortbread. Cornstarch doesn't even really need to be in the recipe if you are following the 1/2/3 recipe (1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour). A proper mix with no cornstarch will melt in your mouth, no tweaking or extra ingredients needed. For those that are looking for an Americanized shortbread add a dash of vanilla and salt."
"Made these tonight added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and did half the batch with a Hersey kiss in the middle and half mixed with chocolate m&m's they came out great!!"
"Omg horribly bland. If you like butter flavored cornstarch biscuits go for it. These need less cornstarch, more sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla to make them taste good."
"Recipe came out delicious! Except I only added 1 cup of cornstarch as I never had enough. I also added 1/4 cup of extra sugar and I added 2 tsps of vanilla extract! Delicious. I made the cookies a bit bigger than it said and I ended up with 65 cookies."
"I made 1/2 recipe like above then took other half and added cocoa powder. They came out super yummy also"
"I also modified the recipe by a third but should have cut in half as I would have liked more of these delicious cookies! I substituted potato starch for the corn starch to make them a little more nutritious and then added 1/2 tsp. vanilla & almond extracts. Not too sweet, which I love. When dough got a bit dry I just added a little milk. This is a keeper recipe!"
"This is a delightful recipe. Shortbread is not traditionally a sweet cookie which is a nice break from the sweetness of all the other holiday deserts. I left the recipe as is and the cookies came out beautiful. I did use colored sugar instead of sprinkles. They do literally melt in your mouth!"
"Perhaps I did something wrong, but the cookies flattened out completely in the oven, and were so crumbly, they ended up in crumbs."
"I just mixed the dough, is it supposed to be really soft?"
"These are fabulous! The texture is light but still crispy but not all crumbly and falling apart like I was worried about! I added vanilla and almond extract and they are amazing!"
"I like this recipe a lot. I did not whip the butter and sugar forever, but I think the texture turned out great. I do agree that they aren't very sweet, so I will add another 1/4 or 1/2 c extra sugar next time or sprinkle them with powered sugar instead of nonpareils. Based on the other reviews, I might also try vanilla or lemon extract. I made the full recipe, and I think I made them a little larger than an inch, but I made exactly 90 cookies."
"I thought these were terrible. No taste at all. The cookies tasted like the batter smelled!!! I also added vanilla and a little more sugar. Didn't help!!"
"I made 1/3 the recipe making very small balls and it yielded 47 cookies for me. So a full recipe for me would have yielded just under 12 dozen cookies. I also added 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to my 1/3 recipe. They're in the oven now. We'll see how they taste in 5 more minutes."
"Read through most of reviews before I tried this recipe..I cut the recipe in half and ended up with 54 cookies. I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract as someone posted and 1/4 cup more of confectioners sugar as another advised..I have to say they turned out perfect..Light and they do melt in your mouth..I used my stand mixer and did extend the time mixing the dough..I will definitely continue to use this recipe..."
"I cut recipe in half. Whipped butter and sugar as suggested and I added 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Yield was 5 dozen, very good, definitely melts in your mouth!"
"These cookies are amazing. I do agree that the butter and sugar need to be whipped for a LONG time (ten minutes is not too long). I added vanilla and zested an orange into the batter. I will definitely make these cookies again. They are best when stored in an airtight container in the pantry for a few days before serving."
"The instructions are not very clear. You need to whip the butter and sugar for a long time. And when you think you've whipped it enough, whip it some more!"
"What a waste of time..these cookies were gross."
"I'm not sure why there are so many negative reviews on here because these are delicious. You need to make sure you really whip the butter and sugar until it's fluffy so maybe that's why some people are getting bad results.I added half a teaspoon of vanilla to mine (I cut the recipe in thirds) at the recommendation of other commenters and they are yummy.One thing I will say is that there's absolutely no way this recipe yields 16-18 dozen cookies. As I said, I only used a third of the recipe (because I didn't want hundreds of cookies lol) and it made about 20-25 cookies, so there's no way the full recipe makes that many.*I should also note that I didn't use any cornstarch in mine because I realized I didn't have any after getting home from the store. Didn't seem to affect the outcome - just used a little bit extra flour."
"I was very disappointed with this recipe. They were not melt in your mouth. They were very dry and lacked flavor. Make a small batch first and see if you like them before you waste your time."
"These were not good at all, they turned gummy in your mouth, they look beautiful, when you break them in half they are very light and fluffy but after chewing they turn very gummy like glue in your mouth."
"I did a third of the recipe to start. 1 cup butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tsp. Vanilla- whip together. Add 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups sifted flour. Roll into small balls. Press with fork. Add sprinkles. bake @ 300 for 20 min. Tasty!"
"I suppose if you're not familiar with the taste and texture of shortbread, you might be disappointed. They're not like a sugar cookie, a milder flavor and crumblier texture, but they do melt in your mouth! Definitely use real butter, not margarine, and let it come to room temp. Don't microwave it! I think that the time of year might make a difference in how it comes out. I made mine on a very cold evening and the batter stayed pretty stiff. I would imagine in the summer, the batter would be a lot softer and greasier. I made half a recipe because it sounded like a huge batch. I think I'll make the full recipe next time. I added a teaspoon of vanilla. I think peppermint oil or almond oil would give a nice flavor. Also raised the oven temp to 325 and baked an extra 5 minutes."
"These are the WORST cookies I have ever tasted. They taste like sawdust . I should have known better with all that butter wasted and then adding all that cornstarch. I will never follow one of your horrible recipes again. The person that posted this should be banned forever !!!!!!!"
"Turned out amazing. To all those comments about 3 POUNDS of butter being wasted on crappy cookies, you may want to check the recipe. It calls for 3 CUPS, not pounds. If you follow the recipe amounts, beat until fluffy, you will have melt in your mouth shortbread."
"I make these every year for Christmas. It's very important to whip the batter for a long time, until it's very light and fluffy. They always turn out great and just melt in your mouth. Decorate them any way you want."
"I like the original version of the cookie, but also thought that it was a little "bland". So I increased the confectioners' sugar to 2 cups. That made it a perfect cookie. However I believe that some of the information and nutritional facts are incorrect. I don't see HOW you could get 16-18 DOZEN cookies (made in 1" balls) from this recipe. The best I could get was 10 dozen. Also, the nutritional facts say that a serving size is 2 cookies and that the carbohydrate value (important for diabetics) is 8 grams per serving. Looking at the amount of sugar, flour, and cornstarch for the cookie this carbohydrate value is not possible. In doing the math, I find the carbohydrate value to be 8 grams PER cookie (that is, at 10 dozen cookies)."
"When I first baked these, I tried them while they were warm. I was horrified that were like a dry blast of powder in my mouth. I was so upset to waste all that butter. I almost threw them out, but instead I put them into a container and into the fridge. That made all the difference! Suddenly, they were delicious little butter balls that melted in my mouth. I love them! I'd make them again. I'm glad I didn't throw them out!"
"They tasted like cornstarch! Disappointed! Too crumbly also!"
"Did have to adjust this a bit. We halved the recipe and added a tsp of vanilla. Next time i make this i may take a quarter cup of the cornstarch and use powdered sugar in it's place. You really need to work this before shapeing though. I also needed to bake for nearly double the time. But we are on the edge of high altitude so that may have played a part."
"This was a big hit at work, home, and just in general. great taste!!"
"I don't know what the other reviewers did, but this recipe for shortbread is, by far, the BEST melt in your mouth cookie! Hint to others, make sure you don't over bake. Use a scoop with the automatic release (I got my scoopers from Pampered Chef and I use the mini scooper). Also, make sure you use BUTTER, no substitutions, and don't melt the butter. It must be soft, at room temperature."
"Cut the recipe in half, waste of time and ingredients. Was like powder."
"Delicious flavor but very crumbly."
"I saw the 50/50 reviews and tried these anyway. They turned out great for me. I will make these again."
"The cookies where over all good...but I think needed a little baking powered as they were a little dry....or a little less corn starch."
"Absolutely horrible! What a waste of 3 lbs of butter. All I could taste was the cornstarch! Threw them all out! Do not use this recipe..."
"My husband and I made this recipe this evening and WOW!!! If you follow this to the T' it is the most amazing buttery melt in your mouth taste GREAT cookie!!! We added some toppings of our choice and they came out perfect! We will be making these our Holiday Favorite so thank you so very much for sharing this recipe."
"Would these cookies freeze well?"
"I love shortbread, and this recipe didn't deliver. I cut the recipe in half to give it a try out for a new holiday cookie. No flavor, bland just doesn't describe it! Definetly not sweet ( which adds to the blandness) and not your usual shortbread texture. So sad I really wanted to love it. Should have read the reviews first about adding more powdered sugar and vanilla."
"Excellent! I have been making these for many years. I add 1 tsp almond flavoring. Also nice rolled in finely chopped nuts then push on 1/2 a cherry on top."
"I made these last nite and they R nice and easy to make. I did cut the recipe in half for just 2 of us. My husband is the shortbread lover. Keep in mind "This Is a Shortbread recipe" so not a lot of flavor but the texture is SO unique when U bite into them they Actually Do Melt in your mouth. I was shocked. Never have had a cookie that did that. I followed the recipe to the letter. SO mine turned out the way they should. PPL if U change a Recipe then You should Not blame the recipe for YOUR failure!! "Just sayin" I will definitely make these again. TY Taste of Home."
"Wondering if anyone ha s tried adding lemon extract and/or lemon zest. I was given little lemony shortbread balls last Chtistmas and they were heavenly. I haven't found a recipe for them, but think I will try it with this one."
"The taste was very good, not too sweet, but I just couldn't get it to roll out. Every time I tried it just fell apart and crumbled. I ended up putting it one pan and cooking it like shortbread, then cutting into wedges. Shame as I wanted it to be cookies to take to a lunch party."
"These are great! The recipe does make a lot."
"I just finished making these and they are sooo delicious!! I did cut the recipe in half only because I thought it would be too many cookies for us. But since I used my small scoop, I only got three dozen cookies (which is plenty for us) We love sweets so even though I cut the recipe in half, I still added 1 whole cup of confectioners' sugar so it would be sweeter, but still thought it needed a little more sugar. The ones I added jelly to were perfect in sweetness though :) oh and I also added 1tsp vanilla (personal preference) We LOVE them!! Thank you for sharing. This will be my go to recipe for shortbread cookies!! :DOne more thing, work the dough until it's not sticky any more. They will not be grainy and they WILL melt in your mouth :)"
"They were not good at all. Had such high hopes."
"On the plus side, I like the easiness of the cookies and the ingredients are items readily accessible in the pantry. I found them to be pretty lacking in flavor though. I think if I attempt these again, I will add vanilla as others have suggested."
"I have been baking for years, and have never had such a fantastic recipe to work with. It was awesome, the texture and taste were great! I made them into thumbprints (using a teaspoon instead of my thumb) and they were/are delicious! Thank you for the great recipes you make available!"
"Question, when rolling into ball the dough is extremely sticky, they are flattening like a pancake in the oven, what am I doing wrong?"
"I was very disappointed in these. I should have read all the reviews first. They have no flavor, dry and crumbly, only made 8 doz. I would look for a better recipe."
"Make this every Christmas :)"
"LOVE this recipe! I added vanilla to them - probably 2-3t - it made all the difference - the recipe made 8 dozen, not 16, but I am happy with the results!"
"Just made these and they are awesome. I have 6 adult critics standing around waiting to try them and they all LOVE them. these are shortbread cookies they are not suppose to be moist. there's only butter, no liquids. I made the recipe as is with the addition of 3 Tbls if vanilla and I put a pecan half on top because I don't have any cherry fans around here. These do melt in your mouth. I used a 1 inch cookie scoop and it only made about 11 dozen. I know I will make this again as soon as I have some time..can't really get much easier than this."
"For those who found the cookies dry, work the dough till workable. For flavor add flavorings.L make these cookies for Christmas and weddings and still get orders year round. Why do some people have to show themselves up by being so rude?"
"I make these EVERY Christmas and hace since they first appeared in the magazine. Such a wonderful recipe..and everyone loves them! I dip the tops in either red or green sanding sugar instead of the nonpareils or cherries. And it makes a BUNCH!!!I just read some other negative reviews and wonder if the reviewers didnt make a mistake. These cookies are NOT dry, and they are very flavorful!! Please give them a try I think you will love them, too!"
"easy to make, but for all the butter, very little flavor, but i used unsalted butter. i made some with jam which improved the presentation as well as the taste."
"One of my new favorite holiday cookies. Simple and not super sweet. The whole family loved them and begged for more!"
"They felt powdery but flavorful. I wish they would have been less dry"
"Yes I agreed awful didn't like the recipe"
"Awful! A perfect waste of 3 pounds of butter. They were very dry (crumbled -- NOT melted -- like powder in our mouths) and had no flavor. I'm willing to bet there are better shortbread recipes out there. Can't believe these were contest winning."
"Yummy, my Mom used to make cookies like these. Thanks for the recipe Jane!"
"I think the "yield" is a bit off. The recipe says 102 servings yet 16 doz. is way more than that (unless a serving is 2 cookies). I think I will cut the recipe in half - that's a lot of little balls to roll!"
"Do I pre-heat the oven? I have a similar recipe which requires a heated oven. Thank you"
"I am thrilled with this recipe. Looking forward to browning butter before measuring for even more exquisite flavor!"
"AWESOME! These have been added to my Christmas cookies to make every year!"
"Oh so delicate. Making another batch."
"Awesome cookies!! I added chopped pecans. So yummy, my hubby loved them and so did I"
"Thank you Jane for sharing this one. It is by far the best whipped shortbread recipe ever. I cut the recipe down to 1/3 the amounts you have shown here, as I don't need such a large quantity. Merry Christmas!"
"Like my grandmothers recipe, only with walnuts ... Melt in your mouth goodness ??"
"Halleymare...how very rude you are!! This is an excellent recipe. Thanks for taking the time to share Jane."
"My husband LOVES these! Thank you Jane for sharing"
"A very simple and most delicious cookies. I will certainly be adding this to my holiday's menu!"
"I did a quarter recipe, because I only wanted a small batch - it made just over 2 dozen. SO good!"
"I've made a lot of shortbread; this is the recipe I've made again and again!"
"This is one of those melt in your mouth kind of cookies, but you dont have to worry about breaking them while you decorate. Very lightly sweetend and almost shortbread like. Delicious!! Try them lightly dusted with powdered sugar!"
"Very easy to make and yummy!"