The Shortbread Cookie Dough Base with endless possibilities

All right ya’ll, get ready for the most versatile cookie dough base ever. If you love tender buttery shortbread, then we will be great friends. Welcome, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Coconut Lime Shortbread
Coconut Lime Shortbread

So a little bit of background… In college I used to study at this coffee shop in Seattle that had amazing lemon cranberry shortbread cookies. So I went on an Internet search for a similar recipe. None came up, but I did find a great chocolate chip shortbread cookie dough base that was an excellent start. As per my usual, its seen its fair share of tweaks throughout the years, but the result is the most amazing shortbread cookie dough base. Ever.

I say, treat this base like traditional chocolate chip cookie dough. Roll it into balls and allow it to spread out as it bakes. But unlike its traditional cousin, chocolate chips and nuts are just the beginning. This base is THE most versatile that I have ever tried. It has a tender, mellow, buttery flavor that is dying to be accented by additions of your choosing! Here are some of my favorite additions:

  • Lemon zest and dried cranberries
  • Dried shredded coconut and lime zest
  • White chocolate chunks, walnuts, and cranberries
  • Macadamia nuts and shredded coconut (even try adding some lemon or lime zest)
  • Any sort of finely chopped flavorful nut (I am partial to hazelnuts)
  • Toffee and Hazelnuts
  • Chocolate chips
  • Or just about any delicious combination you can think of…

I posted the magic recipe for Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies using this base earlier in the week, but in case you missed it, the dough base recipe is below along with suggested measurements for your flavor additions.

Shortbread Cookie Base

  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1.5 cup of additions of your choice (unless citrus zest)**

**For chopped nuts, chocolate, coconut, dried fruit etc add about 1-1.5 cups total additions.  For citrus zest, about 1 tblspn. is plenty!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then in 3 additions, mix in the dry ingredients. This will seem like a lot of flour for not a lot of butter.  So it may require craping down the sides and bottom of the bowl in order to fully incorporate the flour mixture.

Once fully incorporated, mix in your choice of additions.

Roll the dough into about 1 and a half inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Leave about 2 inches of space between them so that you don’t end up with one giant cookie – albeit, one giant, delicious cookie.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through but before the color starts to turn golden brown.

Get ready to be asked for the recipe a lot.  I love that I always have something in the cupboard that can be thrown into this dough for a delicious combination.  Enjoy!  Let me know what combinations you come up with.  I am always up for trying something new – when it comes to cookies at least!

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