stacked shortbread

Great Grandma Florence’s Memorable Shortbread

Shortbread is one of those staple recipes that have very few ingredients, but does not always make for an easy recipe. However I think Great Grandma might just have found a way to make it successful every time.

close up image with text of great grandma's shortbread

This recipe is not just memorable, but both easy and simple. Not to mention delicious. I suspect it is the addition of rice flour and not just the use of all purpose flour that helps make for the delicate crumb and consistency.

shortbread fingers stacked

Recently we lost my husband’s 96 year old grandmother. She was a remarkable woman and grieving her loss is tough. We have made a concerted effort to remember lots of good memories, for ourselves and the kids. And for me those memories nearly always include food.

antique recipe card featuring handwritten shortbread recipe

To me the idea of these recipes not getting passed on to another generation is too sad. So as a way to honour and preserve her memory I have been going through some of the favourites. I find it’s a wonderful way to remember her, and in so doing, I have been making some of the family’s cherished recipes.

shortbread stacked on a plate held up

This particular recipe was actually shared with me, straight from her a couple years back. One evening, with my husband’s mother, aunt and grandmother, we pulled out the recipe card box and took a walk down memory lane. And now, several years out and missing her, it makes that memory even more special.

rustic looking freshly baked shortbread in a pan

However this beautiful recipe is hard to read on the age worn card and very light on directions. Light might be a slight understatement. So after making and having the family devour it on several occasions. I have been able to record some reliable proportions and directions. Which seems a shame to keep to ourselves.

shortbread recipe

Great Grandma’s Shortbread

I suspect from talking with family members that Great Grandma generally rolled out and used a round cookie cutter or rolled the dough into a log and sliced like ice box cookies. However for simplicity and ease (and since it’s my own preference really) I have been making a half recipe from the original proportions in a glass 8×8 baking dish. Where I can simply press the crumbly mixture into a well buttered square dish and prick with a fork. It might be rustic in presentation but it gets the job done and leaves a smaller margin for error.

I have tried the recipe with room temperature butter and cold butter. Cold butter makes for a more flakey crumb (my preference) softened butter makes for a firmer cookie that tastes more buttery (hubby’s preference) and comes together a bit quicker (and can even be rolled into a log and sliced). I prefer using unsalted butter, but the family’s preferences varied between salted or unsalted. Granulated sugar worked well each time for me. But a few whirls in a food processor can take granulated sugar to berry sugar, like the original recipe called for.


Mrs Hart’s Shortbread

Great Grandma's shortbread is hard to beat. It's simple and delicious and what shortbread should be.

Course Dessert
Keyword shortbread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup Cold Butter, diced
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Generously butter a 8×8″ square glass baking dish.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and work the butter into the mixture with your hands. Continue rubbing and kneading the butter into the dough and until evenly distributed and the mixture starts to loosely hold its shape when squeezed together. The mixture will be crumbly, but will still hold a loose shape.
  4. Dump into buttered dish and firmly press into the corners. Continue to press with your fingers until evenly distributed in the pan.
  5. Prick the surface with a fork.
  6. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the edges are browned.
  7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  8. The shortbread is best cut with a sharp knife while still warm and then allowed to cool in the pan (or enjoyed warm).

Recipe Notes

Once completely cooled, store covered in an air tight container at room temperature.

If these lovely recipes of times past fill you with as much happiness and nostalgia as me, then try checking out my maternal Great Grandma’s Cinnamon Tea Biscuits or Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

2 thoughts on “Great Grandma Florence’s Memorable Shortbread”

  1. Did your Grandma use rice flour, or was that one of your tweaking?
    Really interesting if she did!

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