Scotch Shortbread Cutout Cookies

It's that time of the year, almost the only time of the year that I feel like baking cookies. I always say that I'm not a baker but oddly enough, most of my posts this year (as few as there have been) were about baking. But there's something about Christmas that makes me want to bake and gift cookies.

The only other thing about baking that's been a common theme throughout my life is that I dislike rolling and cutting out cookies and yet, here I am writing a post about just that. I credit my cousin Amy for showing me one of the easiest recipes and for gifting me with the tools to make it happen.

The recipe comes from the 1982 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookie Book, contains only three ingredients, and doesn't require refrigerating the dough before rolling it out. I've made a few minor adjustments to the recipe as suggested by my cousin. The first, adjusting for the use of salted vs unsalted butter. Her assumption is that the use of salted butter was more prevalent when this recipe was published but today, as more people are in the habit of using unsalted butter, the addition of salt is necessary. The second is adding a dusting of sugar before the cookies are baked to add a bit more sweetness and shine. And lastly, I double the recipe.

The cookie cutters I use are actually pie crust cutters from Williams-Sonoma. The largest one is about 2" in diameter at most. They are the perfect size to munch on with a cup of hot cocoa.

cookies, shortbread, cutout
Yield: Makes about 4 dozen small cookies
Author: Betty Crocker's Cookie Book (1982)
Scotch Shortbread Cutout Cookies

Scotch Shortbread Cutout Cookies

This is a favorite cookie to make and gift during the holidays.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 40 Min


  • 1½ cups unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in flour and salt with hands (I used my mixer with the paddle attachment). If dough is crumbly, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter.
  3. Roll to ½ to ⅓ inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into small shapes and place ½ inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets (I use Silpat liners). Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sugar.
  4. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool on racks.

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Nutritional information calculated using the Recipe Calculator on

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