Vanilla and honey are two flavors that complement shortbread's warm and comforting taste, and this pie recipe combines the three in a creamy, indulgent pie.
For the crust
- 12 shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread
- 12 vanilla shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Vanilla Shortbread
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon honey
For the filling
- 4 Cups cold milk
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 Cup cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 Cups granulated sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoons honey
- 3 shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread, crushed, plus more for garnish
- Whipped cream, as needed
Just doing a little experimenting in the kitchen. I love shortbread but I didn’t want to use sugar, so I tried honey. So it’s not your traditional shortbread recipe. This makes a very small batch, but can easily be doubled or tripled.
- ½ cups Salted Butter, Softened
- 3 Tablespoons Honey
- ¼ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1-⅛ cup All-purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together butter and honey until smooth. Add in vanilla. Then mix in flour until just combined.
Roll out about a tablespoon of dough and place on a cookie sheet. Press flat with the bottom of a floured glass. Prick three times with a fork.
Note: I used a stoneware cookie sheet and 20 minutes was perfect. Not sure if that makes a difference but thought I should let you all know!
Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Lavender. I’ve always been a fan. Sure, it’s always been around in the bath salts and body lotions. And, you’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about it’s aromatherapy benefits. But lately I’ve noticed it popping in all kinds of culinary applications – of both sweet and savory varieties. This wickedly good lavender lemonade has been a favorite for a while now, but have found myself wanting more…
I’ve been adding dried lavender to my tea ball that’s filled with my favorite Earl Grey blend, which creates an awesome cup of tea for afternoon sipping on the front porch. Naturally, since I’m always thinking about food, I found myself daydreaming about a light tea cookie that mimicked the flavors in my cup.
And I got to thinking about shortbreads. A personal favorite of mine because they’re so easy. The dough is easy to bring together, it’s easy to make ahead and come back to later – as it requires a bit of chilling time, and it’s easy to have fun and play with the flavor combinations. So, I went with that. And, it was a winner!
To this batch I added a dose of local honey and dried lavender flowers. They baked up beautifully, with just enough lavender flavor. It’s easy to go overboard with it, trust me! The specks of lavender were visible in the cookies once baked, which I really loved. And the aroma…just heavenly. Next time around I might try adding a touch of lemon zest for a little zing!
Honey Lavender Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp dried lavender (chopped)
In a large bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Carefully add the flour, salt, and lavender and mix until just combined.
Place two sheets of plastic wrap on the counter and divide the dough in half between the sheets. Shape the dough into 2 logs that are approximately 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment of a silicone mat. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge or freezer and slice into around 1/3 inch slices. Place on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
Bake around 18 minutes, or until starting to brown on the edges. Remove and let cool. Store in airtight storage container.
Dough logs can also be wrapped in aluminum foil and frozen for up to 6 months.
A fruit tart is the ultimate summer dessert! You will love the contrast of flavors and textures from the buttery, crisp shortbread crust, the thick, smooth vanilla pastry cream, and the refreshing, vibrant fresh fruit topping!
Fruit Tart Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour: White, unbleached or bleached all-purpose flour is best.
- Powdered sugar
- Egg: Cold and straight from the fridge. Using a whole egg provides enough moisture to bind the dough without needing to add extra liquid.
- Unsalted butter: Cold and cut into small pieces. Unsalted is always best, but if all you have is salted butter then reduce the added salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Fresh-squeezed lemon juice: Adds subtle flavor and makes the dough less likely to shrink in the pan when baked.
Vanilla Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière):
- Whole milk
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla: 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean.
- Egg yolks
Choose soft, colorful fruits for topping such as fresh berries, sliced kiwis, mangoes, bananas, and mandarin orange slices.
Tip: If you’re not sure how you want to arrange the fruit, you can play around with the design on a plate before adding it to the pastry cream.
Easy Fruit Glaze:
How to Make a Fruit Tart:
Make the Tart Crust:
- Cut the butter into even-sized pieces and then keep the pieces in the fridge so they’re cold when you add them in.
- Add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the whole egg and cold butter pieces and pulse until evenly coated. Then, add the fresh-squeezed lemon juice and pulse just until the dough comes together.
- Gather up the dough and form it into a flat, round disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days before rolling out.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and, on a clean surface, roll it out into a 10″ circle. Lightly dust the surface, both sides of the dough, and your rolling pin with flour often or as needed to prevent sticking.
- Spray a 9″ tart pan with non-stick cooking spray, then drape the rolled out tart dough over the pan and use your fingers to press it firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use a fork to poke several holes in the bottom of the dough. Trim the overhang, cover the dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 more hour.
Bake the Tart Crust:
- Take the pan out of the fridge, remove the plastic wrap, and cover the dough with parchment paper and aluminum foil. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans and place the pan in the freezer while you preheat your oven.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Place the tart pan on a large-rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Remove the weights, foil, and parchment paper, and continue to bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown.
Make the Pastry Cream:
- Add the milk, cream, and vanilla to a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and don’t let it boil or the milk can burn.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until smooth and pale yellow in color.
- Temper the egg yolks: Slowly drizzle the warm milk into the bowl of the egg yolks, whisking the yolks constantly so they don’t curdle. Once all of the hot liquid is added, whisk until smooth, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick.
- Strain the pastry cream through a sieve and into a bowl. Use a spoon to press it through the sieve and use a different spoon to scrape the strained cream from the opposite side and into the bowl. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a film from forming on top. Allow to cool completely for at least 2 hours before adding to the tart crust.
- Use a rubber spatula to spread the pastry cream evenly inside the cooled, baked tart crust. Arrange the fresh fruit on top and keep the tart in the fridge while you make the glaze.
- Make the glaze: Whisk the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the glaze thickens slightly, about 1-2 minutes. Take the tart out of the fridge and use a pastry brush to lightly paint the tops of the fruit with the glaze.
- Keep the fruit tart in the fridge until ready to slice and serve.
The tart crust and the pastry cream can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept separately in the fridge. Once assembled, it’s best to serve the fruit tart within 4-5 hours.
Meringue for Pie
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup sugar
In a large bowl, allow egg whites to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup whisk to combine the water and cornstarch. Microwave 45 to 60 seconds or until boiling, stirring once.
Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium 1 minute or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high. Gradually beat in the warm cornstarch mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form (tips stand straight).
Immediately spread meringue over hot pie filling (swirling to make peaks, if desired), carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Bake as directed in recipes. Your meringue recipe is done when it reaches 160 degrees F.
I'd love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a review below. Or snap a photo and share it on Instagram be sure to tag me @onceuponachef.
With a buttery shortbread crust and rich caramel-pecan topping, these pecan squares make a wonderful potluck dessert for the holidays.
For the Crust
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup Confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the Filling
- 12 tablespoons ( 1-1/2 sticks ) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Generous pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups coarsely chopped pecans
For the Crust
- Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure it overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from pan). Spray foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the flour, cornstarch, confectioners sugar and salt in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size clumps of butter within. It will seem dry that's okay. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. While the crust is in the refrigerator, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F . Bake the crust until crust is set but not browned, about 17 minutes. Set on rack to cool. Leave oven on.
For the Filling
- In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and chopped pecans.
To Assemble and Bake
- Pour pecan mixture over crust (it's fine if the crust is still warm). Bake until filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack. To cut, use the foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board. Loosen the foil from the edges, then cut with a sharp knife into 2-inch squares. Store finished pecan squares in air-tight container and serve at room temperature.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: These can be frozen for up to 3 months. After they are completely cooled, double-wrap them securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap with the layers separated by wax or parchment paper. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.
See more recipes:
If you like these shortbread cookies you should try:
These shortbread cookies are simple and easy to adapt to your flavor preference. Add you favorite chocolates, nuts, and zest to make them your own!
- Author: Kate Wood
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 120
- Yield: 40 Cookies 1 x
- Category: Dessert
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 – 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- Mix-Ins of your choice (see below)
- Cream together the butter, brown sugar and sugar just until barely combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the flour and cornstarch. Mix just until barely combined. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and bring the dough together into a ball with your hands. Roll it out into a log about 1-1/2-2” thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for two hours or overnight if desired.
- When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice into ¼-1/2” thick slices and place 2” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set. Allow to cool prior to enjoying.
- For chocolate chip: Add 6 tablespoons of finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and finish the baked cookies with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.
- For white chocolate peppermint: Add ½ teaspoon peppermint extract in with the vanilla and ¼ cup of finely chopped white chocolate in with the dry ingredients. After baking, drizzle with melted white chocolate and sprinkle crushed peppermint candies on top of the drizzles.
- For funfetti: Use 1-1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract in place of regular vanilla and add ¼ cup rainbow jimmies.
- For lemon: Add 2 tablespoons lemon zest in with the vanilla.
- For maple pecan: Add a scant ½ teaspoon maple extract in with the vanilla extract and ¼ cup finely chopped pecans in with the dry ingredients.
- For lime coconut: Add 1 teaspoon lime zest in with the vanilla and add ¼ cup finely chopped sweetened coconut flakes in with the dry ingredients. Drizzle finished cookies with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes.
- For honey lavender: Add 1-1/2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon of dried culinary lavender to mixture. Top with a simple powdered sugar glaze if desired.
- For espresso: Add 1-1/2 teaspoons espresso powder in with the dry ingredients. Top baked cookies with a glaze made by combined one cup powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon espresso powder and just enough milk to make it into a thick glaze to drizzle on.
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Christmas Shortbread Cookies are buttery and spiced with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Cut them into festive shapes for the holidays, then make and enjoy this shortbread cookies recipe all year long.
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Created by Stacie
Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe hits all the notes of a classic chocolate chip cookie. As the batter mixed up, it smelled so familiar before it was time to add any vanilla. Would the brown sugar be enough to carry that caramel-vanilla flavor? There was a difference between the two batches — depending on the bite. If it was a chip-heavy bite, then all was equal, as it was hard to nuance much with a mouthful of chocolate. A bite with more of the plain cookie showed the differences. Without the vanilla, the butter and egg flavor took the forefront with brown sugar in the background rounding them out. With the vanilla, the cookie tasted a bit sweeter and the flavor of the brown sugar took the lead. My taste testers (a.k.a. family members), gobbled up both versions, but were split as to their preference. We straddled the line, enjoying both versions and finding the differences minimal. VERDICT: SKIPPABLE!
Shortbread Tarts filled with Cream Recipe & Video
These bite-sized Shortbread Tarts are irresistible. They are made with a buttery shortbread that is wonderfully tender crisp. After baking, each tart shell is filled with a creamy No Bake Cheesecake Filling. Delicious on their own, but I think they are especially tasty when studded with fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or strawberries).
If you're Canadian, you're probably familiar with the "Best of Bridge" cookbooks. This recipe is from one of their cookbooks and it is a family favorite. I have been making them for years. Now, to make the tart shells we start with a shortbread dough that contains a little cornstarch (you could also use rice flour), which makes the shortbread tender crisp. Once the dough is made, you press small rounds into miniature muffin cups (if possible use a non stick pan). Then I like to place the shortbread-lined pan into the freezer while I preheat the oven, as this will firm up the shortbread and helps to prevent them from puffing up during baking. But if the shortbread still puffs up , lightly prick the centers of each shortbread with the tines of a fork, about halfway through baking .
T he shortbread tarts are filled with a No-bake cheesecake filling, made with cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest, and pure vanilla extract. When you first make this filling it is quite soft so it needs to be refrigerated until it becomes firm (like pastry cream). So at least eight hours, but preferably overnight. I also find that a day or two of chilling really improves the flavor of the filling. In fact, the filling can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
A few notes on the ingredients. Use a full fat (regular) cream cheese. Don't use fat free cream cheese as it's too soft and will prevent the filling from becoming firm. Along with the cream cheese, the filling is made with sweetened condensed milk, which is actually a ready made concentrated sugar syrup. It is made from a mixture of whole milk and sugar that has had about 60 percent of its water removed. Its consistency is thick and sticky (like honey) and it is very sweet tasting. When choosing lemons use organic if possible. Look for ones that are fragrant with brightly colored yellow skins. The best ones are firm, plump, and heavy for their size. Don't buy lemons that have blemishes, soft spots, or are hard and wrinkled. Lemons consist of a yellow outer rind (skin) that can be of varying thickness and graininess, and can have either a bumpy or a smooth texture. This outer skin is where most of the lemon's wonderful tangy flavor is located. Before removing the outer rind (zest) make sure you wash the lemon thoroughly (soap and water is best). When removing the zest do not remove the white membrane (pith) that is underneath as it is very bitter tasting.
No Bake Cheesecake Filling: In your food processor or electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and process just until smooth. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least eight hours, or preferably overnight. Can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Shortbread Tarts: Lightly butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, 48 miniature muffin tins ( approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter).
In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat, on medium speed, until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix just until incorporated. If the shortbread dough is too soft to roll into balls, cover and refrigerate until firm (30-60 minutes).
Then take about 1 tablespoon of shortbread dough (about 15 grams) and roll it into a ball. Place in the center of each muffin tin. With your fingertips, press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides. Once filled, cover and place the tart pan, with the unbaked shells, in the freezer for about 15 minutes so the shortbread can become firm. (This will help to prevent the shortbread from puffing up during baking.)
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. About halfway through the baking time, if the shortbread has puffed up, lightly prick the center of each shortbread with the tines of a fork. Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the pan. (They can be frozen.)
To serve: Using two small spoons, fill the tart shells with the cream filling. (Can also place the filling in a piping bag, fitted with a small plain tip.) The filled tart shells can be made several hours in advance and refrigerated. Just before serving top with fresh berries or other fruit.
Makes about 48 - 2 inch (5 cm) shortbread tarts.