festive holiday recipe #8: malted shortbread


So, I initially called these “shortbread fingers,” but it sounded weird. And “shortbread strips” made me think of chicken strips and that is definitely not cool.

This shortbread is insanely easy…it takes maybe 15 minutes to throw together, which makes it a great option if you need a last minute treat or something to gift to some very lucky person. It’s also a pretty versatile recipe — you can change up the extracts or add spices to tailor it to your buds (your taste buds, that is…#dadjokes).  I added coffee extract to mine, which somehow managed to round out that malty goodness without tasting much like coffee at all.

If you’re gifting them, cut them into strips like I did, and fill a mason jar with them (make sure they’re totally cool before you do this…you don’t want them creating condensation in the jar and turning to mush). Tie a nice ribbon or something around the jar, and there you have it. Simple enough, right? Right.

Thanksgiving Friendsgiving is next week! Can you believe it? I’m still working on our menu, but we’re going totally non-traditional, and totally non-matchy. Our main dish is for sure going to be turkey enchiladas. And of course, potatoes will make an appearance, likely in this form. I think a jello salad is involved, too. And I’m definitely making two pies — a salted honey pie and a yogurt pie with gingersnap crust and cranberry compote. I LOVE pie of all varieties, but my Friendsgiving companions don’t enjoy cooked fruit so much, so I decided to get innovative. I will definitely share the results with you. I have a feeling that yogurt pie will make a great Christmas dessert. What are your plans/menus?

Malted Shortbread

Malted Shortbread
recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 tsp coffee extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8″ square pan with  parchment.
  2. Using your stand mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes until smooth and slightly fluffier.
  3. Add in the malt powder, sugar, salt, and extracts and beat until combined.
  4. Add in flour, and mix until it comes together. The mixture may seem a little dry at first; keep beating till it comes together. If it absolutely won’t come together, add in up to 1 tablespoon of water, until it does. This is meant to be a stiff dough.
  5. Press the dough evenly into your prepared pan. Prick with the tines of a fork all over. This helps steam escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling/puffing up as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern,or with some kind of symmetry. It’s up to you.
  6. Bake the shortbread until it’s barely light golden brown across the top and a slightly darker golden brown around the edges. For me, this was about 30 minutes, but start checking after 20 minutes, since it will depend on your oven and pan.
  7. Let the shortbread cool for 5-10 minutes, and then lift it out of the pan using the parchment.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut your shortbread into strips, squares, or wedges (it’s your call!). Do this while the shortbread is still warm; if you wait until it’s cool, it won’t cut easily. Transfer the shortbread pieces to a rack to cool.


  • You can change up the flavors easily here. Use different combos of extracts, or add some spices to the dough.
  • The malted milk powder isn’t necessary, so if you don’t want to use it, then don’t. You can also use Ovaltine (the classic malt flavor) in a pinch if you can’t find regular malted milk powder.
  • Be sure to cut these while the shortbread is still warm! Otherwise you run the risk of it crumbling to pieces as you cut it.

Shortbread Fingers


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