Butter Shortbread Cookie Dough

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| Servings: 4 logs 10 inches long by 1 1/4 inches in diameter

I’m really enthusiastic about this dough. It produces shortbread and other cookies that are everything they should be: buttery, just sweet enough, crisp, yet melt-in-your-mouth tender, too.

Some, me included, like their butter cookies plain. Others like them with flavorful additions, like chocolate. To satisfy everyone, this chapter offers both. To make the various cookies, you prepare dough logs, cut the cookies from them, and then “season” the unbaked rounds with sugar or another mixture. You can freeze the dough flavored or unflavored, in logs or not-or some of each. The recipe makes enough dough that you can always have some on hand-a great thing for all cookie lovers.


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Interior scrapings of 1/2 split vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and cream* on medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. One by one, add the egg yolks, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the scrapings of the vanilla bean. Scrape down the bowl.
  2. Turn the mixer off and add the flour. Turn the machine to low and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl. Working on parchment or wax paper, form the dough into 4 logs 10 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter, wrap, and chill.


*Cream: verb — to beat ingredients together (usually butter and sugar) to form a creamy consistency.

Lasts 2 weeks, frozen

Source: Ming Tsai

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