How to Make Shortbread Cookies

This shortbread cookies recipe makes for perfectly crisp and salty sweet cookies! Here’s how to make shortbread cookies and chocolate drizzle for cookies.

How to make shortbread cookies | Chocolate drizzle for cookies

Some people bake; others are bakers in the deepest part of their soul. The latter is our dear friend and kindred spirit Sarah. We met her through our blogs back in 2011 (back when having a blog about food was fairly novel). The first time we met in person, she warmly invited us into her Minnesota kitchen for cold brew coffee and plate of goodies. She’s one of those bakers where everything she touches is perfection.

How to make shortbread cookies | Chocolate drizzle for cookies

About the book

Sarah’s written a book called The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, which is a serious anthology of baking. (I told her it was like her PhD thesis.) Every recipe has Sarah’s stamp of precision and creativity. Last year she served us a peach pie she was testing that can only be described as gorgeous. Of course we couldn’t wait to see Sarah’s book, and it was everything we imagined.

How to make shortbread cookies | Chocolate drizzle for cookies

How to make shortbread cookies

As we paged through The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, we found some shortbread cookies that were very A Couple Cooks, with a minimal ingredient list and small portion size. With only a handful of ingredients, they’re everything a shortbread cookie should be: crisp and sweet-salty, and the chocolate drizzle adds a fun visual element.

How to make shortbread cookies? It truly couldn’t be simpler. Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and seeds from a vanilla bean, then gradually add butter until it comes into a dough. Chill the dough for 30 minutes, then roll it out into a thin layer and cut into cookies. The bake time is just 15 minutes, so in no time you’ll be enjoying your shortbread cookies.

How to make chocolate drizzle for cookies

It might look easy to make a chocolate drizzle for cookies: just melt chocolate and drizzle it on with a spoon! However, we’ve found making a good chocolate drizzle for cookies is not that simple. Here are a few pointers from this recipe! For this chocolate drizzle, the chocolate is melted over a double boiler (one pan set over another pan with boiling water) to make sure it heats evenly. After half of the chocolate is melted, the other half is added and stirred in. This is called tempering the chocolate, and it makes the chocolate have a lovely sheen to it when it dries.

For drizzling the chocolate onto the cookies, using a spoon would result in too thick of a chocolate drizzle. So for this recipe, we’ve used a plastic bag with a small hole cut into the tip. This allows you to have more control over the chocolate drizzle when drizzling over the cookies. Make sure to start with a very small hole so that the chocolate drizzle doesn’t come out too fast!

Order the book

If you’re a baker or know one, this book absolutely deserves a spot on your shelf. Here’s The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

Congratulations, Sarah! Check out her creations on Instagram.

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.

How to make shortbread cookies | Chocolate drizzle for cookies

Looking for Christmas cookie recipes?

Aside from how to make shortbread cookies, here the other Christmas cookie recipes you need to master!

This recipe is…

This shortbread cookies recipe is vegetarian.

How to make shortbread cookies | Chocolate drizzle for cookies
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How to Make Shortbread Cookies & Chocolate Drizzle

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x


This shortbread cookies recipe makes for perfectly crisp and salty sweet cookies! Here’s how to make shortbread cookies and chocolate drizzle for cookies.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds on low speed. Add the butter one piece at a time and mix on medium until it is incorporated and the dough starts to form a ball. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, shape into a flat disc, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a large, 1/2-inch-thick square (ours were more like 1/4-inch). Using a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles. (Any dough scraps can be rewrapped and chilled while the cookies are baking.) Gently slide a metal spatula underneath each round and transfer it to a prepared baking sheet. Place 12 on each sheet.
  4. Bake one sheet at a time, 15 to 17 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely before drizzling with chocolate.
  6. For the chocolate drizle: Put about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Melt 1 ounce of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over the pan of boiling water, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until just melted. Add the remaining 1 ounce and stir until the chocolate is completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  7. To decorate: Keep the cookies on the baking sheet. Spoon the room temperature chocolate into a zipper-lock bag and close to seal, then snip the tip to make a very small opening. If the opening is too big, the chocolate will flow out too fast. Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the cookies, making criss-cross patterns (or any other pattern you like). Let the chocolate set before removing the cookies from the pan (unless, of course, you need to eat one right away).


Reprinted with permission from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Kieffer

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Shortbread, Shortbread Cookies, Shortbread Cookie Recipe

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    December 12, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Can’t wait to attempt this recipe. I’ve never tried making my own shortbread before, I’ve only bought mostly from Marks & Spencer.

    – Charmaine

    • Reply
      December 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      These are fantastic — I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

  • Reply
    Sarah | Well and Full
    December 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I really marvel at people who are good at baking…. it’s such a precise, exacting science. I’ve been seeing Sarah’s recipes pop up here and there in the blogosphere and they all look amazing! :)

    • Reply
      December 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Absolutely agree! Precise does not describe me in the kitchen — though writing recipes does force one to be! :)

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Those are some seriously beautiful drizzles!

  • Reply
    Heather E.
    December 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    I love shortbread. I made a double batch. I rolled the dough 1/4″ thick and used a 2-1/8″ biscuit cutter and got 45 cookies. I haven’t drizzled yet but the two I tried with out chocolate were amazing. Two things: First, I did not have a vanilla bean so I added 1tsp vanilla right as the dough came together. Second, I mixed on “2” on my KA stand mixer. Any higher and it would have made a huge mess of flour and powdered sugar. When adding the butter it looks like it’s never going to work but then, like magic, it does! Thanks for sharing this. I’m impatiently waiting for my copy of Sarah’s book.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you for this detailed comment! That is a helpful note about Speed Setting 2 — I actually tried increasing the speed at one point and got powdered sugar all over my front! haha Thanks for mentioning. So glad you liked them!

      • Reply
        Heather E.
        December 17, 2016 at 7:40 pm

        UPDATE 12/17: Cookies are just as good on day 5 as they were on day 1!! I’ll be making another double batch to share with our guests on Christmas.

        • Reply
          December 17, 2016 at 7:54 pm

          Oh wonderful! Thank you so much for letting us know! :)

  • Reply
    Sunny O'Neil
    December 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Can you mix by hand or by a hand mixer, if you don’t have a stand mixer? And what is the paddle attachment, and what does it do?
    I live in a small apartment with a tiny kitchen. By necessity, I have a very minimum of kitchen appliances.

  • Reply
    Christine | thyme and toast
    December 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    These are beautiful! And I love the short list of ingredients. I am so into uncomplicated cookies this holiday season!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Same over here! We absolutely agree on uncomplicated :)

  • Reply
    December 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Just made a batch- these cookies hit all three goals: easy, delicious, pretty!

    • Reply
      December 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Fantastic! So glad these were a hit :)

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Those are some seriously beautiful drizzles!

    Banquetes en Guatemala

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