Learn how to make buttery cinnamon shortbread cookies the easy way with this simple recipe. Shortbread is the ideal treat to make if you are short on eggs, because there are no eggs called for. Looking for an easy eggless dessert to bake? This cinnamon shortbread cookies recipe has got you covered. With just a few basic ingredients, you can have delicious, melt-in-your-mouth goodness on a plate. Enjoy these brown sugar cinnamon shortbread cookies with afternoon tea or as a lovely part of a party dessert table. Some people might call these buttery morsels cinnamon shortbread biscuits. I just call them wonderful. Ready to learn how to make some amazing cinnamon shortbread cookies? Let’s get started!
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My Cinnamon Shortbread Cookie Backstory
In addition to gingersnaps and white chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, shortbread cookies are a holiday favorite. For years, my dad has made some wonderful shortbread cookies at Christmas. Why do we have shortbread at Christmas? In Scotland, where shortbread originated, the butter and sugar needed for the recipe were luxuries. Consequently, shortbread was a special treat reserved for special days, such as Christmas. In my family, although we are not of Scottish descent, we do have many Canadian relatives.
My dear late Canadian grandmother loved her tea, and shortbread was a natural accompaniment. I added the cinnamon to the basic shortbread recipe for an additional holiday twist. This cinnamon shortbread cookie recipe is a compilation of a variety of shortbread recipes from my family as well as from cookbooks. I’ve simplified the process as much as possible so that everyone can have a successful cinnamon shortbread baking experience.
Equipment for Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies
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You could mix the buttery brown sugar cinnamon shortbread cookies by hand, but it’s much easier to make these cookies if you use a stand mixer. Mine is a vintage gold-colored Kitchen Aid stand mixer which was handed down to me by my sweet, late mother-in-law, and I think of her every time I use it. Although you won’t be able to find my retro gold-colored model unless you are at a second-hand store, you can get a similar one. Mine has a bowl-lift lever like this one.
You will also need one or two baking sheets. I like to use the AirBake variety so my cookies do not get overcooked on the bottoms. Mine are similar to these.
For cooling the cookies after baking, you will need a couple of wire racks.
You will also need other basic kitchen equipment like a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, measuring cups and measuring spoons.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies
The ingredients for this cinnamon shortbread cookie recipe are mainly basic pantry and refrigerator staples. No need to buy any eggs! This is the perfect eggless cookie recipe if you are looking for an eggless cookie idea. Here is what you will need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks, and it’s important to use real butter for this recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions for Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, mix the butter, sugar and brown sugar together. Add the vanilla. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time.
Form the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. (I like to use a big bread board.) Add the ball of dough and roll it out until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into round shapes and place the shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. You can see I used some other cookie cutter shapes as well.
Reroll scraps of dough and continue cutting until all dough is used. **Tip: To keep the cinnamon shortbread dough from sticking to the rolling pin, I use the plastic the ball of dough was wrapped in. I spread it out so it is between the rolling pin and the dough. No sticking!
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Buttery Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies
- 1 stand mixer optional
- 1-2 Baking sheets
- 2 Wire racks
- 1 Cookie cutter or biscuit cutter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, mix the butter, sugar and brown sugar together. Add the vanilla. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time.
- Form the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. (I like to use a big bread board.) Add the ball of dough and roll it out until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut the dough into round shapes and place the shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. (If you would prefer to use other cookie cutter shapes, that is fine.) Reroll scraps of dough and continue cutting until all dough is used.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Cinnamon Shortbread Pan Cookie Variation
In a hurry? Save time by making these cinnamon shortbread cookies in a pan, just as you would for chocolate covered shortbread bars. Simply grease a 9 by 9 or 8 by 8-inch square baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together as directed in the recipe and press the dough into the pan. Prick with a fork in a decorative pattern. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.
You could also press the dough into a well-oiled decorative shortbread dish and bake in that for 20-25 minutes. The dish I have is round and divides the shortbread into triangular wedges. This is similar to the one I have.
I haven’t use the dish very much, because the triangular wedges of shortbread are quite large. I prefer to enjoy my shortbread in smaller portions with a cup of tea. However, the larger wedges are more in keeping with the traditional Scottish way of serving the buttery treat.
One other fun way to make shortbread look fancy is to use a cookie stamp. The one I have is larger than I would like, about 4 inches across. I just put the cookie cutout in the center, turn the stamp over onto the breadboard, and press gently. You can see the floral indentation here.
You can purchase your own set of cookie stamps, then use them over and over in a variety of cookie recipes.
Mexican Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies Variation
Sometimes, shortbread cookies are served as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration. To create the Mexican variation of cinnamon shortbread, shape the dough into balls after resting. Roll the balls in a cinnamon and sugar mixture in a small bowl. Use 1/4 cup sugar mixed with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set and there are cracks in the tops of the cookies, similar to gingersnaps.
Common Cinnamon Shortbread Cookie Questions
What is the Difference Between English Shortbread and Scottish Shortbread?
Although tradition holds that shortbread originated in Scotland, it is popular all over the United Kingdom, and is produced throughout England as well. Sometimes different varieties will omit the baking powder, and the product will be more crumbly. Denmark exports large quantities of butter cookies, which are similar to shortbread cookies.
What Makes Shortbread Different?
Shortbread and shortbread cookies are different from most other cookies in that they do not require eggs. If you are interested in an eggless cookie or eggless dessert, shortbread is a simple option.
Is Shortbread Scottish or Irish?
Shortbread originated in Scotland. Soda bread originated in Ireland. Soda bread is a type of bread that is made with baking soda instead of yeast, which gives it a distinctive texture and flavor. Shortbread and soda bread have similar sounding names. Perhaps that is the reason there is sometimes confusion.
Is it Better to use Powdered Sugar or Granulated Sugar for Shortbread Cookies?
It depends on the desired texture and flavor of the shortbread cookies. Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar, is finer and smoother than granulated sugar, so it can help to create a smoother, more delicate texture in shortbread cookies. However, granulated sugar will provide a slightly crunchier texture, which some people may prefer. The choice of sugar can also affect the flavor of the cookies, with granulated sugar providing a slightly more pronounced sweetness. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the specific recipe being used. I prefer to use granulated sugar in shortbread.
Why do you Chill Shortbread Before Baking?
There are several reasons why shortbread dough is often chilled before baking. Chilling the dough can help to firm it up, which can make it easier to handle and shape. This can be particularly useful if the dough is sticky or soft, as it can help to prevent it from sticking to your hands or the work surface. Chilling the dough can also help to prevent the cookies from spreading too much during baking, which can help to maintain their shape. Additionally, chilling the dough can help to develop the flavor of the cookies, as the flavors have time to meld and intensify. Overall, chilling the dough can help to ensure that the shortbread cookies turn out slightly crispy on the outside, while slightly soft and crumbly on the inside every time you bake them.
Should Shortbread be Hard or Soft?
Shortbread is supposed to be tender and crumbly, but not hard. The high proportion of butter in the dough gives shortbread its distinctive rich, buttery flavor and crumbly texture. However, if the cookies are overbaked or underbaked, they can become hard or soft. To ensure that the shortbread is perfectly tender and crumbly, it is important to follow the recipe carefully and bake the cookies until they are just golden around the edges. This will give them the perfect texture.
Why do you Poke Holes in Shortbread?
There are several reasons why holes are often poked into shortbread before baking. One reason is to help the heat to evenly penetrate the dough, which can help to prevent the cookies from puffing up during baking. This is especially important with the pan shortbread variety. Poking holes in your shortbread dough can help to maintain the flat, even shape of the shortbread, which is characteristic of this type of biscuit. Additionally, poking holes in the shortbread can help to release any air bubbles that may have formed in the dough, which can help to prevent the cookies from developing cracks or other imperfections. Finally, poking holes in the shortbread can add an attractive decorative element to the cookies.
What was Shortbread Originally Called?
Shortbread was originally known as “biscuit bread” or “biscuit cake.” The term “shortbread” likely originated from the fact that the dough is made with a high proportion of shortening, which gives the biscuits their distinctive crumbly, short texture. Over time, the term “shortbread” came to be used exclusively to refer to this type of biscuit, and it is now the most commonly used name for this delicious, buttery treat. Since real butter is the only way to go for the best flavor, I would be tempted to call them “butterbread” cookies.
More Food Inspiration
It’s always nice to have a plan when it comes to parties and meals. If you’re looking for a way to get more organized with your meal or party-planning efforts, I’ve got something for you. Free, editable meal planners! The templates can be used over and over, as often as you need them. You can make as many duplicates as you like, and you’ll be able to save old meal plans for future reference. I hope it simplifies things for you.
If you would like even more recipe ideas, consider following my Easy Recipes board on Pinterest. Have a fabulous day, and have a good time making easy cinnamon shortbread cookies.
Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to create and share recipes, often using fresh ingredients from her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. To get more easy recipes, click on over to the Food page.
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