Author Notes: This shortbread is my twist on traditional Scottish shortbread. In my mind, they're pretty much the perfect cookies—rich, buttery, salty-sweet, and delightfully crumbly. The malty sweetness and warm spice of the rye and cinnamon up their charm factor considerably. A small box of these cookies packaged with good tea or coffee would make a lovely gift. —EmilyC
Food52 Review: What a delicious treat! The rye flour and healthy dose of cinnamon take a traditional shortbread to the next level, making it perfect for a gift. I love the idea of giving these to someone along with a complementary tea, and I am looking forward to playing with flour and spice combinations. They also hold up well, tasting just as good on day 4 as they did on day 1, which is important when gifting baked goods. And finally, that scoring before baking and cutting while hot tip? Genius. —Megan
Makes: 32 bars
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
cup (85 grams) confectioners' sugar
teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
cups (177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
cup (130 grams) dark rye flour
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoons good quality cinnamon (I used Penzey's Vietnamese cinnamon)
teaspoons Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling over dough
- Heat oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
- Using a hand mixer and a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vanilla and beat for a few more seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well integrated and the dough begins to form moist clumps, about 1 minute.
- Turn the dough out into the prepared pan. Using a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup, press the dough to form an even layer.
- Score the dough lightly with a knife, marking 4 rows by 8 rows to form 32 shortbread bars. Dock each bar once or twice with a fork, if desired. Sprinkle turbinado sugar generously and evenly over the dough.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until shortbread is lightly browned all over.
- When done, remove pan from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. While the shortbread is still hot, use a knife to fully cut the shortbread along the lines you scored prior to baking. Allow shortbread to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, the shortbread bars will break apart very easily. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.