Scottish Shortbread With Ginger Recipe

Hi, everyone.  Glad you stopped by! Anyone have a sweet tooth today?  Because if you do and are looking for something tasty to satisfy it, then you’re in the right place.

From Lorna Doone’s to the Girl Scout’s Trefoils to the distinctive red, plaid boxes of Walker’s, there are many pre-packaged shortbread options from which to choose.  My personal favorite happens to be made by Shortbread House of Edinburgh – particularly the biscuits (cookies) with warming stem ginger.  Mmm mmm good.  Today I’m going to attempt to make my own version of their yummy treats.

Box of shortbread with warming stem ginger from Shortbread House of Edinburgh.
If you live in the U.S., these biscuits (cookies) can be purchased from Amazon and sometimes can be found in local shops.  Recently, I was thrilled to find a display of them for sale at World Market.

Once a luxury to the “common” people of Scotland, shortbread began with medieval “biscuit bread” – that is, bread made with leftover biscuit dough.  Over time, the yeast was replaced with butter and eventually evolved into shortbread as we know it today.

Traditionally, shortbread is made in three shapes:  a large circle divided into segments called shortbread petticoat tails, a rectangle cut into strips or bars called shortbread fingers, and round biscuits (cookies) called shortbread rounds.  I’m going to be making the rounds today.

Let’s begin!

Recipe:  Scottish Shortbread With Ginger 

*Recipe adapted from several that I found; yields: 30 biscuits (cookies)

Set oven to 375°.

Please note:  A good kitchen scale is invaluable when it comes to British baking, as measurements are listed in grams.  


•2 sticks (225g) butter  (Butter should be at room temperature.  Leave it out overnight.  Trust me on this.)

•4 oz (112.5g) caster (superfine) sugar  (Alternatively, you can use regular sugar and pulverize it with a mortar and pestle –  a less expensive and just as effective option.)

•1/2 lb (225g) sifted plain, all-purpose flour

•4 oz (112.5g) rice flour (Rice flour helps give your shortbread that perfect sandy texture.)

•3+ Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger (This amount depends on how gingery you want your biscuits to be – Mr. C says more ginger is better!)

*I found the crystallized ginger at The Fresh Market here in the States.

•pinch of salt if desired – if using unsalted butter  (I forgot to add the pinch of salt and honestly didn’t even notice.)

Ingredients for shortbread.

The Process:

1) Cover an un-greased baking sheet with non-stick, oven-proof parchment paper.

2) Sieve together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, and salt.  Sieving 2-3 times is best.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t take as long as it sounds.

3) In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together.  Your arm will become very tired, but hey…biceps!

4) Stir crystallized ginger into the butter/sugar mixture.

Shortbread ingredients.

5) Using cold hands, combine the sifted flours with the butter/sugar mixture until you have a soft dough.  You WILL think you screwed something up because, at first, it’s all a crumbly mess.  But keep working the dough, and eventually, everything will combine nicely.  Be very careful NOT to overwork the dough, though, because your end result will not be as good.  The faster you can do this and the lighter your touch, the better the texture of your biscuits.

6)  Using your hands, press the dough flat.  Take a small cookie cutter or glass roughly  1.5″ in diameter and cut out circles.  Place circles on lined baking sheet.  In my case, I didn’t have a small cookie cutter, so I just grabbed the shot glass.  Hey, also came in handy for pouring myself a wee dram.

Shortbread dough being cut into circles.

7)  Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 360° and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes.  You may have to experiment with this, depending on your oven and your elevation.  This is what seemed to work best for me.  

Your biscuits are done when they lightly golden – not brown.  Be careful not to burn your bottoms!

Shortbread cookies.
You could pinch around the edges if you wanted to make them look prettier.  Mine aren’t very fancy, but they sure tasted good.

8)  Cool completely on a wire rack and enjoy.

A bottle of Ben Riach, a glass of whisky, and three shortbread cookies on a plate.

A cup of tea is a nice complement, but may I suggest pairing your biscuits with a dram of your favorite single malt?  A Scotch from the Speyside region goes exceptionally well!

All in all, Mr. C and I were very pleased with how these turned out.  Next time I would add another tablespoon or two of ginger, and I might experiment with pinching the edges to make them look pretty but other than that, there isn’t anything I would change.  Well, except to make even more!

Let me know if you decide to give these a try and tell me what you think.  Anything you would change or do differently?

Have a great week, friends.



8 thoughts on “Scottish Shortbread With Ginger Recipe

  • They look tasty, I bet they were delicious. I haven’t tried the Shortbread House of Edinburgh biscuits but I’ll look out for them now. I rather like Dean’s shortbread, especially the petticoat tails. Have you tried that make? It’s from Huntly in Aberdeenshire and melts in the mouth. I also like Walker’s choc chip shortbread rounds, very nice dunked in a hot cup of tea.

  • I couldn’t stop reading your website. How beautiful pictures they are! I love shortbreads, so I’d like to bake this recipe this weekend. Thank you for your nice photos and recipe.

    • Keiko, I’m so thrilled that you are enjoying my site! It’s wonderful to have you here. Thank you for the compliment on my photos. 🙂 I have actually been thinking of making a batch of shortbread myself. It’s been far too long! 🙂

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