Hogmanay Shortbread Cookies

December 31: Hogmanay/New Year’s Eve

Whenever we are too lazy bake a black bun out celebrating with family and friends on New Year’s Eve, we still like to add something Scottish to the festivities. A simple shortbread seems to satisfy, after indulging in all the heavier appetizers, main dishes and drinks.

We used a rustic recipe—only three ingredients: flour, powdered sugar and butter—just like the old Scots did when harsh winters limited their resources and ingredients. Traditionally baked in round tins, our shortbread was shaped into mini circles to resemble lucky coins to wish everyone good fortune in the new year. We also decorated a few of the cookies with chocolate fondant cutout alphabets. They make for a good conversation (and an edible education) about Hogmanay, the last day of the Scottish old year, which does not just include the singing of Auld Lang Syne. Learn more about the rich traditions from Scotland.org.

We are happy to share a little bit of Highlander’s food and culture with everyone. Happy Hogmanay!


(Adapted from Almanac.com)


  • 1 ½ cups pastry flour (see Notes)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter, chilled
  • Chocolate fondant (optional)


Sift the pastry flour with the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Grate the chilled butter into the flour-sugar mixture. 

Knead for several minutes until the dough comes together. Roll into a ball. Flatten the ball of dough into a disc between two sheets of wax paper. Roll into ¼-inch thick. 

Cut into round shapes. Re-roll dough and continue cutting out shapes. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes, being careful not to overbake or burn the bottoms. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar. Roll out a small piece of chocolate fondant to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut out letters to spell Hogmanay. Brush the top of the shortbread with water. Position a letter on the cookie. Arrange on a serving platter.


  • We purchased pastry flour from our local grocery store. But a good alternative is to mix half all-purpose with cake flour.
  • We were at Islander’s parents’ house in Hawaii when we baked these Hogmanay shortbread and forgot to bring round cookie cutters. So we improvised and used the lid of a spice jar to cut shapes. They were the perfect size for this festive food.