Salty-Sweet Sugar Cone Shortbread Loves Ice Cream As Much As You Do

August 21, 2018

Sorry to all of the shortbread cookies I’ve made and loved over the years. I’ve got a new favorite in my life. It’s rich, buttery, salty-sweet, toasty, and delightfully crumbly—everything I want in a shortbread cookie. I call it sugar cone shortbread, because, you guessed it, it’s made out of sugar cones.

Just look at them! Photo by Julia Gartland

The idea came to me during a late-night craving for something salty-sweet. I rummaged through my fridge and pantry as I dreamed about the salty sugar cone crumble I made on repeat last summer for sprinkling over ice cream. But what I really wanted in that moment was ice cream and a cookie, shortbread to be exact. I started imagining a salty-sweet shortbread made out of sugar cones. How could I get that unmistakable taste of a sugar cone into a cookie? Could I crush them up and make a shortbread dough? Was that even a good idea? Eventually, I found chocolate and forced myself to get some sleep.

Not one to let ideas like this go, I got to work the very next day. I crushed up my sugar cones, assembled the dough in my food processor, then pressed it directly in a sheet pan (no logs to form, chill, and slice; no rolling required). I scored the cookies into squares before baking them, so they’d be a cinch to cut and remove from the pan.

As I took my sheet pan out of the oven, the whole house smelled like a sugar cone factory. I didn’t even let them cool before I broke off a piece. They were everything I’d hoped for, with the flavor of the sugar cones front and center. My kids went a little crazy when they tasted them. I’m usually in the kitchen making salads and vegetables. Moments like this score big points.

As my kids can attest, deciding how to eat them is the really fun part!

Of course, straight out of hand is never a bad way to go (I’ve been tucking them into my kids’ lunch boxes for camp). They’re also pretty swell as a second breakfast at your desk with a strong cup of coffee (I’ve been tucking them into my work bag).

Did someone say coffee?

But really, these cookies practically scream for ice cream. Just like sugar cones, they pair well with any flavor of ice cream under the sun. I’ve made ice cream sandwiches with them (and by all means, go this direction if you like), but my absolute favorite way to go? An open-faced ice cream sandwich. They’re so easy to make and provide so many possibilities for toppings: hot fudge, sprinkles, chopped nuts, fresh berries, you name it.

No matter how you serve them, these cookies are summer’s perfect shortbread, a way to savor every sweet moment of the season.

Are you dreaming of your own perfect cookie? Share in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gloria
  • Jackie Livingstone
    Jackie Livingstone
  • EmilyC

Written by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.


Gloria November 21, 2023
Opioid I sooooo cannot wait to give these a try, will let you know how it goes 😂
Jackie L. August 22, 2018
These were amazing! Don't remember how I came across the recipe but yum!
EmilyC August 23, 2018
yay—so happy they were a hit! Thanks Jackie!