Home for the Holidays: Traditional Shortbread from Nancy Fraser

Baking, decorating, family…all the things that fill the holidays with joy. Join our Entangled authors as they share a little something special from their home during the holidays.


Home for the Holidays: Traditional Shortbread

Nancy Fraser


Food is a big thing for our family around the holidays. While the main meal is, of course, important it’s the baking that stands out and garners the most compliments. I grew up in an extended household that included my parents, an aunt, uncle and cousins. While each family occupied their own side of the family duplex, meals were often taken together. Especially around the holidays. I grew up on a lavish spread. My mom and aunt would bake for two weeks straight leading up to the holiday and cap off their marathon with a Christmas Eve tradition of sweet potato pies, coconut cake, and homemade banana pudding.

Despite all that good upbringing and tradition, the one thing my grandchildren request every year is the simplest of all my cookie recipes: Traditional Shortbread. Laced liberally with butter, it’s a three ingredient wonder!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 pan with either foil or parchment paper.
  • Cream together 1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter and a half cup of light brown sugar until smooth. Add in 2 cups of all-purpose flour (1/2 cup a time). By the time you get to the last ½ cup, you may want to start mixing with your hand as it will be too stiff to stir.
  • Once incorporated, press dough firmly into the pan.
  • Bake for 22 minutes. Finish shortbread will be a very light brown. Cool on a rack for 20-30 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Recipe may be doubled using a 9×14 pan and adding 3 minutes to the baking time.

While that’s baking check out Pushing the Limits by Nancy Fraser


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