A classic Scottish cookie enjoyed for centuries, shortbread is a buttery crumbly delight that’s perfect for any occasion. However, most people wonder if you can use cookie cutters to shape your shortbread.
The simple answer to this question is yes, but don’t just take my word for it. Read on to find out why cookie cutters can be your next favorite tool when making shortbread.
The key to success when using cookie cutters on shortbread lies with the dough preparation.
Once you’ve prepared all the ingredients for the basic version, feel free to follow the steps below:
- Cream softened butter and sugar until well incorporated or light and fluffy.
- Add the flour one cup at a time to ensure even mixing.
- Once the dough is mixed, shape it into a rectangle, wrap it in plastic wrap, then chill for at least 30 mins.
- After chilling the dough, roll it on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness, then quickly start cutting using the cookie cutters.
- When the dough softens, place it back in the fridge for at least 5 minutes to firm it up again.
- Once the cookies are cut, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet at least an inch apart, then chill for 15 minutes before baking.
- While chilling the cookies, preheat your oven to 350℉ or 180℃.
- After chilling the cookies, bake them for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Keep an eye on them while baking, or you may end up with dry, over-baked shortbread cookies.
Depending on your desired shape and texture, you can cut shortbread before or after baking.
Below are some guidelines on how to cut shortbread:
- Before Baking: For a clean, precise shape, cut your shortbread dough into your desired shape or pattern before baking. In this scenario, cookie cutters are your best tools.
- After Baking: If you want your shortbread to have a rustic and crumbly appearance, cutting it after baking is your best choice. It’s also a good option if you want to serve your shortbread in a more casual way or in the shape of wedges.
Note that it’s important to cut shortbread when it’s warm, not too hot or cold, to avoid excessive crumbling.
If you can’t decide when to cut your shortbread, try both methods to see which one you prefer.
Knowing that you can use cookie cutters in preparing shortbread cookies, it may be tempting to use intricate patterns. It’s still best to use simple shapes to cut and transfer them to a baking sheet easily.
Below are some simple and classic shapes that can add a fun and decorative touch to your shortbread cookies:
- Round or Disc: Probably the most common shape, not just for shortbread, but for most cookies. You can either use a cookie cutter or form the dough into a log, then cut it to make discs.
- Finger: A long, rectangular shape that resembles a finger. You can make this by shaping the dough into a big rectangle, then slicing it into strips.
- Heart: Chocolate-covered shortbread cookies are popular during Valentine’s Day.
- Pumpkin: Use the pumpkin pattern for your Halloween treats.
- Star and Christmas Tree: Perfect during the Holiday Season, especially when you decorate your shortbread cookies with frosting and sprinkles.
- Geometric Shapes: Triangles, squares, rectangles, and even octagons are common shapes for your shortbread cookies.
- Letters and Numbers: You can use these shapes to create a birthday greeting, for example.
- Petits Fours: Bite-sized shortbread cookies usually decorated with jelly or icing for added appeal and flavor.
Shortbread cookies are versatile enough to be prepared for any occasion or as a simple snack. Its melt-in-your-mouth characteristic is one of the reasons why people adore it all over the world.
Knowing that you can use cookie cutters to create different shapes and patterns, you can take this simple baked creation to the next level.
Just follow the instructions above, especially the “chilling” part, and you can create beautiful and delicious shortbread cookies that’ll surely become a hit.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.