Sadie’s Scottish Shortbread Cookies with Sharon Struth

If you know my family, then you’ve probably either tasted or heard us talk about my nana’s legendary shortbread cookies. The buttery, melt-in-your-mouth delights have become a Christmas tradition in my home, always stirring up fond memories of my nana, Sadie, who moved to the U.S. from Glasgow, Scotland back in 1928.

Every Christmas season, Sadie would busy herself in the kitchen, churning out batch after batch of the cookies from her homeland. Stored in poinsettia-decorated tins, she’d offer the treats as gifts to friends and family…a true gift from the heart.

In my latest release, Share the Moon, Scottish traditions have made their way to the pages, including shortbread cookies. Although our story takes place in New England, the book’s heroine, Sophie Shaw, has fond memories of her nana, a woman who made the best darn shortbread cookies in New England and had a strong belief that name meanings hold true. Sophie doesn’t buy the name meaning theory, but she still carries on the shortbread ritual.

If you try this recipe, a word of caution; don’t take shortcuts. The most important part of this is letting the dough “season” at least overnight (I do 24 hours) and don’t make the mistake of thinking those fork-poked holes are mere decoration. Everything little thing matters when trying to get the best flavor from these three ingredients.


2 ½ cups of flour

½ pound of softened butter-2 sticks (or you can use ¼ lb. margarine, ¼ lb. butter)

½ cup of sugar (I use a generous half cup, no leveling)


Mix all ingredients well. Form into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight, at a minimum. Twenty-four hours (or even two days) adds to the flavor.


Remove wax paper and let the dough warm at room temperature. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Press dough evenly into a round 8” pan. The dough will be crumbly. Once pressed, use a fork to poke holes on the top layer, spaced maybe ½-1 inch apart. Cook around 45 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned. Remove from oven. Cool before cutting.