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Craving a sweet treat without the leftover temptation? This easy small batch shortbread cookie recipe lets you bake just a handful of melt-in-your-mouth cookies whenever you need a sweet fix. Each buttery delight boasts a tender crumb and the option to add a decadent chocolate drizzle. It’s a classic favorite, simplified and made in a smaller quantity – perfect for sharing or keeping all to yourself.

Looking for more light and buttery cookie recipes? Try our Shortbread Bites, Thumbprint Cookies, Sugar Cookies, and Butter Cookies

  1. Easy to Make: With just a few basic ingredients, this recipe is simple and hassle-free.
  2. Perfect Portion: Designed to be a small batch, it’s ideal for satisfying your cookie cravings without leftovers.
  3. Customizable: Whether you prefer them plain or with a chocolate drizzle, these cookies are a blank canvas for your favorite flavors.
  4. Time-Saving: This recipe requires minimal prep time, making it perfect for a quick baking session.
  5. Versatile Enjoyment: These delightful small batch shortbread cookies are perfect for indulging yourself with a homemade treat whenever you deserve it! They’re also ideal for whipping up a sweet surprise for a small gathering, a thoughtful, homemade addition to your Christmas cookie tray, or as a part of a homemade gift.
shortbread cookies on a white plate.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

Ingredients

This section provides a quick rundown of the ingredients used in this small batch shortbread cookies recipe. For complete measurements and step-by-step instructions, please scroll to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

  • Butter: This recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of room temperature/slightly softened salted butter, key for adding a rich, buttery taste to your cookies. Using softened butter is crucial in this shortbread cookie recipe. Why? Because when you cream together the butter and sugar, it creates air pockets. These air pockets are essential for giving the cookies their light and airy texture. Remember, the ideal softened butter should be cool but leave an indentation when pressed with a finger.
  • Sugar: Here, we use 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, combined with the butter, to form the foundation of the cookie dough. Don’t forget an additional 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to sprinkle over the cookies before baking, adding a subtle sweet crunch.
  • Vanilla: A 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract is used to infuse the cookies with its warm, aromatic flavor, enhancing the overall taste profile.
  • Flour: The recipe requires 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, providing the necessary structure to the cookies.
  • Chocolate: For an optional chocolatey touch, use 2 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate to drizzle over the cookies. This not only adds a visually appealing element but also introduces a delightful contrast in flavors. You might like to use any leftover chocolate in a small batch Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this classic shortbread cookies recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

Recipe Variations: Customize Your Shortbread

Get creative and add a personal touch to your small batch shortbread cookies with these delightful recipe variations.

  • Lemon Shortbread Cookies: Brighten up your cookies with a sprinkle of lemon zest mixed into the dough, adding a fresh and tangy zesty flavor.
  • Chocolate Chip Shortbread: For a classic favorite, fold in a tablespoon or two of mini chocolate chips before baking, creating a delicious chocolatey surprise in every bite.
  • Pecan Shortbread Cookies: Enhance the texture and taste by adding about a tablespoon of finely chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts, giving the cookies a satisfying crunch.
  • Spiced Shortbread: Infuse warmth and aroma by mixing a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg into the dough, perfect for those who love a hint of spice.
  • Dipped in Chocolate: Once baked, dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate, setting them aside to harden. This adds a luxurious and visually appealing chocolate coating, perfect for extra indulgence.
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How To Make Shortbread Cookies

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of shortbread cookies. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

  • Start by creaming together the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
  • Gradually mix in the flour. At first, the dough might look like wet sand, but as you knead, it will begin to come together, forming a more traditional cookie dough consistency.
  • Knead the dough 3 to 4 times until it forms into a cohesive ball.

Step 2: Shape the Cookies

  • Divide the dough into three or four equal parts. Roll each piece into a ball using your hands. Place these balls on a small baking sheet, spaced apart.
three balls of raw shortbread cookie dough on a baking sheet.

Step 3: Flatten the Cookies

  • Use the palm of your hand or the back of a large spoon to gently flatten each ball of cookie dough. This helps them bake evenly and gives them the classic shortbread cookie shape.
shortbread cookie dough flattened on a baking sheet.

Step 4: Add a Sweet Touch

  • Lightly sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top of each cookie. This step adds a subtle extra sweetness and a slight crunch to the finished cookies.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 13-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t over-brown.
baked shortbread cookies with sugar sprinkled over the top on a silpat liner.

Step 5: Chocolate Drizzle (Optional)

  • Once the cookies have cooled, melt some chocolate. Using a spoon, artistically drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of each cookie. This not only enhances the flavor but also makes them visually appealing.
fingers holding up a shortbread cookie with a chocolate drizzle.

Follow these steps for a batch of perfectly baked small batch shortbread cookies, ideal for any occasion. Whether enjoyed plain or with a chocolate drizzle, these cookies are sure to delight.

Expert Tips

  • Accurate Flour Measurement:
    • To ensure the right amount of flour, first fluff up the flour in its container using a spoon.
    • Gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup, overfilling it slightly.
    • Level off the excess flour using the back of a knife or a straight-edged utensil. This method prevents packing the flour too tightly, which can lead to using more flour than the recipe requires.
    • Avoid scooping the flour directly with the measuring cup, as this can compact it and alter the cookie’s texture.
  • Prepare Your Baking Sheet Correctly:
    • Line your cookie sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper for the best results. This helps in easy removal of the cookies and ensures even baking.
    • Avoid using butter or oil sprays to coat your baking sheet. These can make the sheet too greasy, causing the cookies to spread out more than desired during baking.
  • Watch the Baking Time:
    • Be vigilant about not overbaking the cookies. The perfect time to take them out of the oven is when you notice the edges starting to turn a light golden brown.
    • Overbaked cookies lose their tender texture, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on them, especially as baking times may vary slightly depending on your oven.

RELATED: 20 Single Serving Breakfast Recipes Worth Waking Up For

Serving Suggestions

Shortbread cookies are versatile and pair wonderfully with various accompaniments. Here are some delightful ways to enjoy them.

  • Fruit Compote Dip: Serve these cookies with a side of your favorite fruit compote or bowl of Ambrosia for a sweet and tangy dipping experience.
  • Cheese Board Addition: Add these cookies to a cheese board along with Fudge or Chocolate Truffles for a sweet contrast to savory cheeses and meats.
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches: Use two cookies to sandwich a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream for a delightful ice cream cookie sandwich.
  • Layered Dessert: Crumble the cookies and layer them with whipped cream and fresh berries for an easy yet elegant layered dessert.
  • Tea Time Classic: Enjoy these cookies with a pot of your favorite tea, making for a classic and comforting tea time treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Scottish shortbread cookies?

Scottish Shortbread is a traditional cookie with a simple recipe calling for using butter, flour, and sugar. While some people categorize it as a cookie, others refer to it as a biscuit. Historically, shortbread originated as early as the 12th century, initially known as “biscuit bread.” This early version was made from leftover bread dough, which was dried out and baked at a low temperature to form a rusk, a dry, sweet biscuit. Over time, yeast in the recipe was replaced with butter, aligning with its increased availability in Britain, Scotland, and Ireland, giving birth to the modern shortbread.

How do I store shortbread cookies?

Storing shortbread cookies, especially if you have leftovers from a small batch, is simple. These cookies can be kept fresh at room temperature for about a week when stored in an airtight container. If you need to store them for a longer period, freezing is an option. They can be frozen for three to four weeks. Remember, the key to maintaining their texture and taste is ensuring they are stored properly, either at room temperature or in the freezer.

What is the best way to soften butter?

Softening butter is an essential step in many baking recipes, including shortbread cookies. The most effective way is to leave the butter out on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes before you need to use it. This allows the butter to soften naturally to the ideal consistency. If you’re in a hurry, another method is to microwave the butter for 10 to 15 seconds. However, be vigilant when using this method to prevent the butter from melting; you want it softened, not liquefied. Careful monitoring during microwaving is key to achieving the perfect softness.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried these shortbread cookies or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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Because you’re worth it

Small Batch Shortbread Cookies

5 from 15 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 cookies
Make delightful, buttery Small Batch Shortbread Cookies with our easy recipe. Perfect for satisfying sweet cravings without excess. Each cookie melts in your mouth, with an option for a chocolate drizzle. Ideal for sharing or a personal treat.

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter -softened (¼ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar -plus ¼ teaspoon for topping the cookies
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
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Instructions 

  • Set your oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Prepare a small baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla until the mixture becomes creamy.
  • Add the flour to the bowl and continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.
  • Knead the mixture 3 to 4 times until it forms a cohesive dough. Divide this dough into three equal parts, rolling each into a ball. Place these balls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart.
    shortbread cookies dough balls
  • Gently press down on each dough ball using the palm of your hand or the back of a large spoon, flattening them to about ¼-inch thickness.
    shortbread cookies ready for oven
  • Sprinkle each cookie evenly with a small amount of sugar (about ¼ teaspoon total). Then, bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.
  • After baking, remove the cookies from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely for an additional 10 minutes.
  • While the cookies are cooling, place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, then stir. Continue to heat in 10-second increments, stirring each time, until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Dip a spoon into the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the edges and tops of the cookies.
  • Allow the chocolate on the cookies to harden, which should take about 20 minutes, before serving. Enjoy your beautifully crafted and delicious shortbread cookies!

Notes

  • Accurate Flour Measurement:
    • To ensure the right amount of flour, first fluff up the flour in its container using a spoon.
    • Gently spoon the flour into your measuring cup, overfilling it slightly.
    • Level off the excess flour using the back of a knife or a straight-edged utensil. This method prevents packing the flour too tightly, which can lead to using more flour than the recipe requires.
    • Avoid scooping the flour directly with the measuring cup, as this can compact it and alter the cookie’s texture.
  • Prepare Your Baking Sheet Correctly:
    • Line your cookie sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper for the best results. This helps in easy removal of the cookies and ensures even baking.
    • Avoid using butter or oil sprays to coat your baking sheet. These can make the sheet too greasy, causing the cookies to spread out more than desired during baking.
  • Watch the Baking Time:
    • Be vigilant about not overbaking the cookies. The perfect time to take them out of the oven is when you notice the edges starting to turn a light golden brown.
    • Overbaked cookies lose their tender texture, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on them, especially as baking times may vary slightly depending on your oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 201kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 133mg, Potassium: 22mg, Vitamin A: 465IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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Recipe Rating




24 Comments

  1. Leslie Lesly says:

    Can you make up the dough and store in the fridge until you bake them?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes.

  2. Jen says:

    These are perfect. They’re my favorite go-to when I need a quick late night dessert. I’m a chocoholic, so I’ve made them spreading a thick layer of melted chocolate, a layer of homemade chocolate frosting I put together while the cookies are in the oven, or just spread Nutella on the top. All are good options

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy to know you love the cookies, Jen. Thank you so much for your feedback.

  3. Shree says:

    I exactly doubled everything and made a few extra, came out perfect. Thanks a lot for the wonderful recipe, this satisfies both sets of my plain vanilla and chocolate cookie lovers in my family 🙂
    Great tasting cookies baked with such simple ingredients, done in a flash!!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for your feedback.

  4. Kelsey says:

    I have to bake up these cookies! They look so good! I love that chocolate drizzle on them!

  5. Pam Greer says:

    I love your small batch cookie recipes! With just me and my husband, we don’t need a bunch of cookies! These are perfect for us!

  6. Danni says:

    I love that this is a small batch. I always end up baking way too much.

  7. Haley D. Williams says:

    Love that this is small batch. It saves baking time and yields the perfect amount!

  8. Sue says:

    I love for shortbread cookies during the holidays, and that chocolate drizzle is so elegant!

    1. Mary says:

      I was looking for some simple cookies to make with my kids and it looked like these were their favorite cookies yet! I love how it made a small batch, making it perfect to enjoy without eating too much!!

      1. Joanie Zisk says:

        I’m so glad you and your children enjoyed the cookies, Mary. Thank you for taking the time to let me know.

  9. Joy says:

    Can I use powdered sugar instead? I love the way it leaves a smooth texture.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Hi Joy, I’ve never used powdered sugar before in this recipe so please let me know how they turn out, I’d love to know.

  10. Aly says:

    Can’t wait to try these! I only keep chocolate chips in the cupboard – those would work as well for the drizzle, wouldn’t they? I’d think so, not only chocolate but other flavors as well (peanut butter, etc.) Or maybe a powdered sugar glaze that could be flavored with whatever you like. The possibilities are endless! I’m going to make some as soon as I finish typing – LOL…Thanks for another great recipe Joanie!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, chocolate chips work very well and you’re right, so many options. Hope you enjoy the recipe!