Solstice Shortbread

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: 2 dozen shortbread wedges

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In ancient times, Scotsmen marked the winter solstice — the first day of winter — with bonfires, entreating the sun to return over the course of the year's longest night. From this tradition was born first a round cake, notched on the side to represent the sun's rays; and then today's familiar wedge-shaped shortbread. This version of classic shortbread incorporates crystallized ginger, which adds a spicy kick.

Read our blog about this shortbread, with additional photos, at flourish.

Solstice Shortbread

star rating (11) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 dozen shortbread wedges
Published: 12/16/2009


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup crystallized ginger


see this recipe's blog »

1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans, or two 8" or 9" stoneware shortbread pans, or a combination.

2) Combine the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and beat till smooth.

3) Place 1 cup of the flour in a food processor with the crystallized ginger. Process until the ginger is finely minced; this may take up to 1 minute.

4) Add this mixture, with the remaining 1 1/3 cups flour, to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until well combined.

5) Divide the dough in half, and press half into each pan, smoothing the surface with your fingers or a pastry roller.

6) Prick the dough all over with a fork; this will prevent it from ballooning up or developing air bubbles as it bakes.

7) Bake the shortbread till it's golden brown all over, and a bit browner around the edges, about 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven.

8) Loosen the edges of the shortbread from the pan, using a table knife or heatproof nylon spatula. Wait just a minute or two, then turn the shortbread out of the pan onto a piece of parchment or a clean work surface.

9) Use a bench knife, a knife, or (easiest) a rolling pizza cutter to cut each round into 12 wedges. Do this immediately, while the shortbread is still warm. If you wait, it'll be difficult to cut.

10) Transfer the wedges to a rack to cool.

Yield: 2 dozen shortbread wedges.


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  • star rating 12/28/2014
  • Sjohnson22 from KAF Community
  • Wow. I made these as one of my husbands Christmas "presents". He's a ginger and shortbread freak so when I saw this recipe I knew he would love them, and I was right. I had no problem with them coming out of the pan and cutting was easy... I had so much baking and cooking to do, but made these first. Pretty easy. Super phenomenol flavor and fantastic chewy texture. He said this morning he had a dream about them. Yep. That's a good cookie!!!
  • star rating 12/14/2014
  • nbm from Brooklyn, NY
  • The ginger worked wonderfully. I did have to sliver the ginger chunks by hand. Only significant change: I used a small proportion of rice flour to soften the texture.
  • star rating 04/12/2012
  • klbryant from KAF Community
  • This has become my go-to cookie recipe. So easy to make and people love them. My tip: if you use the mini diced ginger chips that KAF sells, you can skip the food processor step -- they're already in such small pieces that you don't need to chop them up any more.
  • star rating 01/21/2012
  • michwel from KAF Community
  • Easy and delicious. I had never made shortbread before, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. When pressing the dough into the pan, I covered it with wax paper and pressed with the back of a spoon. That made it easy to spread without sticking. I had no issues with it coming out of the pan- I used regular Teflon cake pans greased with Crisco. I love the taste of the crystalized ginger - just the right amount of kick. I also enjoyed being able to read the blog and see the photos. Using the scale and pizza cutter were great ideas.
  • star rating 12/08/2011
  • supel from KAF Community
  • Great! We love ginger at our house as it has many beneficial effects on the human body too. Sort of a double bonus for those who eat it.
  • star rating 06/24/2011
  • auntiecaroline62 from KAF Community
  • A nice easy recipe that produces a delicious result - what more could you want - well maybe a cup of tea. I think the only thing I would do differently next time is to chop the crystallized ginger a little less leaving tasty bits. My husband and I then decided it would be great with warm apple compote and vanilla ice cream. The possibilities are endless.
  • star rating 12/19/2010
  • jgm60315004 from KAF Community
  • I just tried this recipe, doing all the prep in the food processor as another user suggested. Excellent!
  • star rating 01/28/2010
  • Paula from MA
  • Very easy and remarkably delicious!!!!! I did have trouble getting the shortbread out of the pan, but I ended up cutting them into 4ths and removing each quarter with a spatula.....YUM!!!!!
  • star rating 01/06/2010
  • Kate from Charlottesville, VA
  • These were excellent. I could *not* stop eating them when they were hot out of the oven. I did have some trouble getting them out of the pan, they sort of fell apart. For the second pan I just cut them in the pan and removed them with a spatula. I made them on December 23rd and they were still tasty on January 3rd. A winning recipe, I will make it again.
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