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.

Cheddar-Chive Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

We have posted several recipes for sweet shortbread cookies. But we wanted to try a savory one this time. Thanks to a recipe swap at our local library’s culinary club, we came across this cheddar-chive shortbread, which is a deliciously different treat for our teatime. It is more like a cracker than a cookie with its buttery and cheesy goodness! Savor the flavor of cheddar-chive shortbread, especially on National Shortbread Day.



  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
  • ½ cup spreadable cheddar cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped


In a large bowl, cream the butter and spreadable cheddar cheese. Stir in the salt, cornstarch and fresh chopped chives.

Mix in the flour and blend well until a dough comes together. Flatten into a disk and place between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll out into ¼- inch thickness. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer for half an hour to firm up the dough. The dough must be firm or the shortbread will spread.

Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter (we used a flower shape). Re-roll, chill/freeze and cut dough as necessary to make more shortbread cookies. Place on lightly greased baking sheet about an inch apart. Chill/freeze for 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until golden on the edges. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.


  • Keep the dough well chilled to avoid the cookies spreading while baking in the oven.
  • Search our blog for other (sweet) shortbread recipes.

Millionaire Shortbread

January 6:National Shortbread Day

Around the holidays and Hogmanay, we usually make some type of shortbread as an ode to Highlander’s Scottish heritage. As we wish for a prosperous new year ahead, we make millionaire’s shortbread. Well, this treat breaks any diet resolutions because it is an ultra rich cookie topped with decadent chocolate with a chewy caramel filling and a sweet shortbread crust (similar to a homemade Twix candy bar)!  But this dessert is so delicious that it is worth indulging on millionaire shortbread, especially on National Shortbread Day.


(Adapted from Food Network)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (1 bar Baker’s brand chocolate)


In a bowl, combine the flour with sugar and salt. Cut in the butter pieces and mix until it resembles coarse peas.


Press flour mixture into an 8×8 inch square pan lined with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a saucepan, over medium heat, stir the condensed milk with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.


Keep stirring until it turns into a light caramel color, around 15 minutes. Pour the caramel over the shortbread cookie layer and spread evenly with a spatula. Cool completely.


In a bowl, melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Pour this over the cooled caramel layer.  Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.


Chill it in the refrigerator until the chocolate layer is slightly hardened. Using the foil as handles, lift everything out of the pan. Cut off the edges to straighten. Then cut into 16 squares.



  • Make this millionaire shortbread on January 25 for a Scottish Burns Supper dessert. 
  • For a quicker recipe, substitute the sweetened condensed milk and 1 tablespoon of butter for canned dulce de leche
  • Search our blog for more shortbread recipes.