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Shortbread Cookies

Soft Shortbread Cookies are “melting moments” which is a biscuit type cookie in the UK.  They are expected to be crunchy and crumbly but melt in your mouth at the same time.


Soft Shortbread Cookies

These cookies will make a great addition to any holiday. Here is a recipe that is a favorite during the winter holidays. Soft shortbread cookies that are egg-less.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 3 dozen


  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch (USA) (corn flour in the UK)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Topping---
  • 1 cup powdered sugar , sifted


  • In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a bowl fitted with a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and slowly add the flour mixture and continue mixing until incorporated.
  • Cover with saran wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour or until firm.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of oven.
  • When dough is firm take out of the refrigerator, uncover and form into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for about 12 - 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Baking time may vary depending on altitude so be sure not to burn the cookies.
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, line another baking pan or tray with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle about half of the confectioners powdered sugar onto the bottom of the pan and then place the slightly cooled cookies on top of the sugar. Put the remaining sugar in a fine strainer or sieve and then sprinkle the tops of the cookies or just roll the cookies in the sugar.


These cookies are great on their own. However, if a coating is desired, try caramel or a light chocolate shell.
These cookies store very well. Place in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper and they will keep a couple of weeks.


Serving: 3g

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it's accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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 recipe slightly adapted from Joy of Baking    Image Credit:  Yummy Corner

24 Responses

  1. I mixed the dough yesterday and refrigerated overnight and baked today. They are very good and they do melt in your mouth, but sadly I can’t pick them up without them falling apart and melting in my hand. I only get little pieces to my mouth. What could be the problem? I can’t even get them in the powdered sugar in one piece. I followed the recipe exactly. I even made the second oven batch thicker and they look just as delicate.

  2. I am going to make these for our Fire Department Santa Run, and I do have one question. The recipe says to form them into balls, but your picture looks like the dough was formed into a rope and then cut into pieces (much like you would with gnocchi). I kind of like the shape of them in the picture. Is that how you made them?

  3. Hi!
    I think there is a typo error in the recipe…as also suggested by some other people. I checked the link you’ve posted from Joy Of Baking. The quantities are as follows picked directly from the site:
    Melting Moments Recipe:

    1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

    1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing)

    1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Read more: https://www.joyofbaking.com/MeltingMoments.html#ixzz3gyYuuWPZ

    Hope it helps 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to make these for awhile and finally did, this morning. I used 1/2 c powdered sugar, and used almond flavoring instead of vanilla. They are amazing! I love the way they crunch and then melt in your mouth. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi 🙂 What would be the result if you substitute icing sugar for castor sugar? Would it remain soft and get a more crumbly texture?

  6. I think the problem with those not liking them is the confusion of cornstarch (here in the US) vs corn flour (UK). I’m not sure they are one in the same. I Googled it and got conflicting advice. Any UK peeps out there that could say if corn flour is like our corn meal? Maybe it’s ground finer??? I’d like to try them, but I don’t think that much of our cornstarch would be correct.

    1. 5 stars
      I make a similar cookie….called Meltaways. The recipe calls for 1 cup flour, 1 cup cornstarch. There is a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in my recipe, and I include about a cup of chopped pecans and call them Pecan Meltaways. Take them out of the oven and roll in powdered sugar and roll again when cool. They are awesome! So I have no doubt that these would be awesome too. So except for the pecans and a little more powdered sugar, my recipe is the same. I have never shared them with anyone who didn’t want the recipe.

    2. I know this is super late as a comment but just to clarify (as an Australian reader, but we tend to use a lot of similar terms to the UK being an ex-British colony) that corn meal is NOTHING like cornstarch/cornflour. Corn meal is yellow and feels coarse, I guess kind of like sand. I expect most Americans are familiar with it. You use it for cornbread. Cornflour (cornstarch in the US) is white, whiter than flour, and is superfine – it is like the texture of arrowroot, if you know what that is like, or like the very fine sugar you use for frosting (I can’t remember what you call that in the US. We call it icing sugar, as we call frosting “icing”.) Melting moments made with cornmeal would taste nothing like this amazing biscuit (cookie) should taste and feel like. I wonder if the first commenter who complained about the recipe used cornmeal instead of cornstarch. That would explain a lot.

  7. My daughter and I were planning to make these today, until I noticed the ratio of cornstarch to flour. I do not want to waste time or ingredients. Is there an error in “1 CUP of Cornstarch”? I can understand in using cornstarch, but 1 cup??? Sounds strange. Please clarify. Thank you.

    1. It’s the correct amount of cornstarch. Some people love it and some don’t. These cookies turn out crispier because that’s what “Melting Moment” are in Europe. They are hard biscuits. If you don’t want as hard of a cookie, maybe use less cornstarch.

  8. 3 stars
    Just made these and they are ahhhww-some! So flakey and light just sweet enough. Definitely good with hot chocolate or coffee or tea. Thank you for sharing! I will be making them again.

  9. these are to die for!!!!!! I made them last night and they are all gone!! I have already shared them with my mum who is going to try them out today!!! thank you 🙂

  10. Hi, I saw a similar recipe recently, I know they use the cornstarch to make them light and tender. Julia Child likes to use Potato Starch instead of cornstarch when making a sauce. I looked for and found that does cost a lot more than cornstarch but it might be a good option if you have some. I think I would try it. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I dont usually take the time to leave comments but these are amazing! Totally melt in your mouth, my 9 year old insisted he “must be dreaming” when he ate one! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  12. Someone made these at the cookie exchange party I just attended and they were amazing!!! I loved them and plan on making them for myself 🙂

    1. Hi there, thanks for commenting. I am sorry you did not enjoy the recipe. The recipe does call for cornstarch. The cookies are “melting moments” which is a biscuit type cookie in the UK. They are expected to be crunchy and crumbly but melt in your mouth at the same time. At the bottom of the recipe is the original link. Also, here is a video/recipe from joyofbaking for the same cookies. They also explain the cookie more in depth here.

      Hope this helps 🙂

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