Shortbread is a celebration of simplicity—a combination of butter, sugar, and flour that adds up to so much more.

Shortbread was one of the first baking projects I ever tackled—at a friend’s house in 4th grade under the intense supervision of her mother. I don’t remember much about the cookies but I do remember thinking they were pretty basic. I mean where were the chocolate chips?

Video! How to Make Shortbread Cookies

What is Shortbread?

The “short” part of shortbread refers to the lack of gluten development in this cookie. Liquid activates gluten, but because there’s no liquid in the recipe (and a lot of fat), the gluten doesn’t have a chance to develop into long strands of protein that, in turn, give other baked goods their chewy texture.

Since the gluten is kept “short,” we get a tender, crumbly cookie that melts in…

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