Go Back

Spiced Shortbread

Servings 16 wedges


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, cold (1 stick)
  • Confectioner's sugar for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner's sugar and all of the spices until combined.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, then add it to the flour mixture.
  4. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the flour looks crumbly. This will take a couple of minutes.
  5. Once the butter is cut in and looks sandy, use your hand to squeeze the powdery mixture together. It will seem too dry to ever hold together, but just keep squeezing handfuls together and flipping the dough over to catch more dry pieces until the mixture comes together in a ball.The warmth of your hands will soften the butter and help it to bind to the flour mixture. It may take 50-60 squeezes. Just keep working it until there are no more dry bits in the bowl and it has come together.
  6. Place the ball of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and pat or roll the dough into an 8" circle. (Mine was a little bigger than 8".) Lightly flour your rolling pin or hands if your dough is sticking. You'll have some ragged edges. They will be taken care of in the next step.
  7. Using your finger tips or knuckles, crimp the edges, forming a fluted edge.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 wedges, but do not separate them.
  9. Use a fork to poke holes all over the dough. This is called, "docking", and it helps keep the dough from bubbling up while it bakes.
  10. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden and the center looks set.
  11. Remove from the oven. With a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into wedges, using the cuts you made before baking as a guide. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  12. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for 2-3 months.

*As always, measure your flour correctly! I use the spoon and sweep method. Fluff the flour, spoon it into your measuring cup and use a knife to sweep across the top to level it.

*If crimping with your knuckles seems too complicated, use the outside edge of your hands to coax the ragged edges into a smooth edge. Then, use a fork with the tines pointing straight down, push the edge of the dough in slightly to create a ridged edge. This is not like pressing the dough flat with the fork, because the fork is vertical. You're just using the tines of the fork to crimp up a decorative edge. Think of your fork as a snow p

low and the dough as your snow :) You could also use the edge of a butter knife or a spoon as your "plow."

*This makes a lightly sweetened shortbread. If you want it less sweet, reduce sugar to 1/3 cup. If you want it sweeter, you can add another 2 Tablespoons of confectioner's sugar or drizzle a glaze over them, made of confectioner's sugar mixed with water or milk, and a splash of vanilla.

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2016