Shortbread biscuits recipe: The ‘key’ ingredient for ‘perfect’ shortbread every time

Shortbread: Waitrose shows simple recipe for delicious dessert

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Shortbread biscuits are traditionally made in Scotland but are gifted across the UK at all times of the year – from Valentine’s Day to Easter Sunday. Though they contain a few simple ingredients, getting the consistency and flavour right can be a struggle for some bakers.

However, there is one small but mighty ingredient that is said to boast the “perfect” shortbread when used.

According to Ciara Mcdonnell, writing for the Irish Examiner’s food section, the “key” resides with a sprinkling of salt.

She said: “It may seem counterintuitive, but a good pinch of salt is one of the most important parts of a good shortbread.”

Based on her own experience, Mcdonnell says the richness of the butter is “amplified” by the “salty hit”.

She hails the ingredient as a crucial part of her “perfect” shortbread cookie recipe.

Salt flakes can be sprinkled on top of the biscuits, along with Demerara sugar, before popping them into the oven.

However, other budding bakers recommend including salt as part of the flour mix.

The great thing about shortbread is its versatility. If you really want to mix things up you can add a variety of fillings, such as caramel.

Alternatively, those with an extra sweet tooth can top shortbread with melted chocolate or icing.

Chocolate or other flavourings can also be added in with the raw ingredients for speciality shortbreads.

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How to make shortbread biscuits

The below recipe is courtesy of Delish

Ingredients you will need:

  • One and a quarter cup of all-purpose flour
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • A quarter cup of sugar
  • 150g of unsalted butter


Begin by preheating your oven to 180C, and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour with a teaspoon of salt and a quarter cup of sugar.

Using your fingers, rub in the butter until your mixture is akin to the texture of sand.

Gently knead the dough until it comes together.

Next, transfer the dough to the baking sheet and press it into a seven-inch round.

Prick the round all over with a fork and lightly sprinkle sugar on the top.

If you want to, you can sprinkle some salt flaked on top too for an added salty kick.

Using the blunt side of a large knife, score the round into eight wedges.

Bake for 30 minutes until the dough is golden brown and cooked through.

While the shortbread is still warm, cut through the score marks with a serrated knife.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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