Make Ahead

Currant-Caraway Shortbread

January 15, 2012
3 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 3 to 4 dozen shortbreads, depending on size
Author Notes

These are a shortbread lover's version of Irish Soda Bread, studded with currants and caraway seeds and a bit of whole wheat flour. They are heavenly with some blue cheese and a glass of prosecco, or a cup of good black tea, or just all by themselves. —calendargirl

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Calendargirl is an artist living in Washington, D.C. She was part of the team that catalogued Julia Child's kitchen for the Smithsonian!
WHAT: The best things about soda bread -- in cookie form.
HOW: Make an easy shortbread dough, chill it, cut it, and bake it. Enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of Prosecco.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love how calendargirl takes two Irish classics -- soda bread and shortbread -- and creates the perfect hybrid. The result: a sweet-savory cookie, studded with currants and caraway seeds, that we'd gladly eat any time of day. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 scant cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1 generous tablespoon whole caraway seeds
  1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is pale, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients and mix until they are well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove dough from processor and roll out on lightly-floured surface into a free-form shape, roughly 7 x 10 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. I like to roll out the dough on waxed paper or parchment.
  4. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  5. Heat oven to 350° F and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into desired shapes. Rustic rectangles work well, and it is not necessary to re-roll the scraps if you are satisfied with some irregular edges, which I think are especially nice for these. As long as your cookies are roughly the same size, they will bake evenly.
  6. Place the shapes on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake about 10 to 14 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are light brown. Let the shortbreads cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jacqueline Yaraghi
    Jacqueline Yaraghi
  • em-i-lis
  • EmilyC
  • Scribbles
  • vvvanessa

31 Reviews

ellbell90 December 2, 2021
My new favorite holiday cookie--the use of caraway is so unique and special. I used 2T rye flour in place of the whole wheat because I love rye and caraway together. My sister said it was one of the best cookies she had ever had! Thanks for the great recipe!
calendargirl December 3, 2021
Thank you, ellbell90! And what a terrific idea to use rye flour. I will definitely try that next time I made these.
Leandra A. December 10, 2016
I tried this for the first time. When adding the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar - everything was super dry. What am I doing wrong??
calendargirl December 10, 2016
Hmmmm, that is mysterious! Were the butter and sugar well combined and were you able to roll it out? A key is to be sure the butter and sugar mixture is well creamed. What was the final result? I am going to make these in the next week or so and I will pay careful attention. But in many years of making this recipe, I have not had the same experience.
Leandra A. December 10, 2016
Wasn't able to roll it out. Very crumbly. But I may not have mixed the butter and sugar well enough. Trying them again today. Thanks for the tip!
Jacqueline Y. December 22, 2015
Can you make these and ship them? I'm looking to ship cookies to my boyfriend in Afghanistan
calendargirl December 24, 2015
I have shipped these successfully, though not as far as Afghanistan. If you roll them a bit on the thick side and put waxed paper between each layer, that should help. And pack them in an airtight container. They do keep quite well. And even crumbs of these are delicious!
em-i-lis December 6, 2015
I cannot get enough of these delicious treats! Fabulous texture and flavors. It's impossible to eat just 1. Thank you for this terrific recipe, calendargirl!!
calendargirl December 6, 2015
Gosh, Emily -- thank you! So glad you like.
healthierkitchen December 12, 2015
these were wonderful at the DC cookie swap. So unexpected and delicious! I am going to attempt them!
calendargirl December 12, 2015
Thank you, Wendy! I think you will be surprised by how easy they are. Let me know how it goes!
healthierkitchen January 23, 2016
I finally made them on our snow day yesterday, Susan! So good! Mine are a bit crumblier than yours were and since I'm not a baker I'm wondering where I might have gone astray? I just love the soda bread flavors!
calendargirl January 23, 2016
Hi, Wendy! So glad you made these. I am not sure what to suggest to rectify the crumbliness, though I have found that these behave best when rolled a tad on the thick side and cut while they are really cold. That might mean popping any unbaked dough back in the fridge until you are ready to cut and bake. Hope that helps!
EmilyC March 16, 2014
Made these today for our St. Paddy's feast tonight -- delicious and so simple to make! I've never made shortbread with cold butter before (is Scottish shortbread made this way?) and I loved the texture and crumb. This is a keeper! Congrats again on the well-deserved WC.
calendargirl March 17, 2014
So glad, Emily! And greetings on this snowy (!) St. Paddy's Day.
Scribbles March 13, 2014
I just made this to go with tonight's dinner - they were so easy to put together and totally yummy! I got about 16 pieces and they are perfectly browned and a bit crisp around the edges. I'll be sharing this recipe and making it again and again…thanks!
calendargirl March 13, 2014
Thank you, so glad you like them, Scribbles!
vvvanessa March 13, 2014
Super idea!
calendargirl March 13, 2014
Thanks, vvvanessa. Hope you'll try them.
bonbonmarie March 12, 2014
Congrats! can't wait to try these
calendargirl March 13, 2014
Thank you, I hope you'll like them.
healthierkitchen March 12, 2014
hurray calendargirl!! These sound delicious!
calendargirl March 12, 2014
Thanks, Wendy. Let me know if you try them!
Marian B. March 12, 2014
This is everything I like in a shortbread: a little savory, a little chewy, butter through and through. Adding it to my short list! (ha, ha.)
calendargirl March 12, 2014
Short list, indeed. Hope you like, Marian!
EmilyC March 12, 2014
Congrats on your WC win, calendargirl! These look delicious -- can't wait to try them!
calendargirl March 12, 2014
Thank you, Emily! What a lovely surprise. Hope you'll like them half as much as I adore your cherry, cardamom & pistachio ice box cookies.
drbabs November 3, 2012
calendargirl, these look great! I love shortbread. But I have a question for you-- where is the vanilla?
calendargirl November 3, 2012
Hi drbabs, so funny --- entering these was a mistake which I wish I could blame on a hurricane-addled brain but alas, I am just a total flake. I asked the editors if they would remove it when I realized what I had done, but Kenzi kindly told me they don't have a way to do that, but that she would alert the recipe testers. So sorry! But I hope you'll try these anyway one day.
drbabs November 4, 2012
That is funny. Hmmm, I bet if you scraped in the seeds from a vanilla bean in place of the caraway, these would be an amazing homage to vanilla.
calendargirl November 4, 2012
That's a great idea and I am going to try it. But right now we are packing up our lives for a temporary move-out so virtually all of our floor can be replaced following a burst pipe which flooded the place. Sheesh -- colossal headache, but really nothing more, and it is forcing a major clean up and divesting of stuff which was long overdue. We are trying to get it all done before Thanksgiving. But THEN I am going to do the vanilla version! BTW, I have enjoyed your shortbreads on Food52, esp the meyer lemon and olive ones.