12 Days of Cookies: #1 Marlow & Sons Shortbread


Welcome, dear readers, to the first of 12 DAYS OF COOKIES! That is right, from today until December 12th, I will be bringing you a new post and a new cookie recipe each and every day. 12 Lottie + Doof-style cookies to make for your friends and family (or yourself). But that isn’t all! The best part is that I am going to have some very special guests helping me out along the way. Who, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out, but I promise it will be good. We’ve been working together for the last few weeks pulling together some very delicious cookie recipes to share with all of you! Starting now…


First up is a recipe that I am seriously bonkers for. It comes from one of my favorite culinary institutions, Marlow & Sons. On my last trip to NYC, back in October, I had lunch at Marlow & Sons with Bryan and Brooke (of Pink Cereal fame) and on our way out a walnut shortbread cookie caught my eye. We had eaten so much delicious food at lunch and I had already proclaimed that I didn’t need dessert but that golden brown little shortbread cookie was too good looking to pass up. It was better than I imagined it would be. Dare I say the best shortbread cookie I have ever eaten? It is possible! The cookie was burned in my taste memory and I thought about it a lot that week after returning to Chicago ( I am weird—I know).

Well, Doofers, I got you the recipe! Avery Wittkamp, the very talented pastry chef at Marlow & Sons was kind enough to share her recipe with me. I had to make a couple of adjustments to make this work in our home ovens, but work it does— these are phenomenal. And they are the perfect way to get this carnival of cookies started.

Join me here tomorrow for another cookie and a very, very special guest.


Brown Sugar Walnut Shortbread (Avery Wittkamp)
I think this works best in two quarter sheet pans because it allows for more even cooking in home ovens. It also will work in one half sheet pan, just make sure you monitor it carefully so it doesn’t burn on the edges or bottom.

4 sticks (1 pound) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
9 ounces light brown sugar
5 ounces white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound 3 ounces organic King Arthur bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Prepare a half sheet tray, or two quarter sheet trays, by buttering and lining with parchment paper. Allow a two-inch overhang on the long sides of the pan to help release the shortbread later after they have been baked.

Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until combined, then mix in dry ingredients. Combine completely.

Divide dough evenly into prepared sheet trays, spreading smooth and level. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake at 325° until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Let cool completely before using a sharp knife to cut into squares. These keep well at room temperature for at least a week!

***This recipe makes a lot of cookies. Depending on how you cut them, anywhere from 3-5 dozen.

44 comments to “12 Days of Cookies: #1 Marlow & Sons Shortbread”

  1. These look delicious, as though they’re both a little chewy and a little sandy — just the way perfect shortbread should be.

  2. These look incredible! I adore shortbread: chocolate, peppermint, or plain but I’ve never had brown sugar shortbread. I’m thinking of this recipe for our SPCA Bake Sale in 2 weeks. Sounds like I may have to finally break down and buy that food scale…

  3. I LOVE shortbread cookies! And I’m very excited about the next 11 day! whoopie !!!!

  4. Brown Sugar Walnut! Sign me up! I can’t wait to see all the recipes you will share with us. So ambitious :)

  5. beautiful! let the 12 days begin!! xx

  6. would these be ok without the walnuts? I dislike nuts in cookies but the rest of it sounds like a great cookie.

  7. Lisa, absolutely- these would be great without the walnuts.

  8. Oh how fab! Two of my favorite flavors–brown sugar and walnuts–in my favorite kind of cookie. What could be better? Interesting about the bread flour, as I’ve always used a combination of regular all-purpose and rice flour. Looking forward to the next 11 days!

  9. jennifer morrison says:

    December 1st, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I’ll try this recipe closer to the 20th. I do need to start baking soon. Waiting to see what tomorrow brings. Hoping for some that can last 3 weeks. Jen

  10. Hey Jen! I’ve got some recipes coming up that can be made in advance and frozen, so stay tuned. xoxo

  11. You’ve done a fabulous job representing for the pastry department at Marlow & Sons here. Bravo!

  12. YUM. this is so exciting. happy 12 days!

  13. This is so exciting! I can’t wait to try out these cookies and the cookies to come!

  14. Wow, thanks. I’ve never seen shortbread cookies that are so brown. I’m looking forward to the other recipes.

  15. Exciting! I’m looking forward to all 12.

  16. Thanks Tim! I love Marlow & Sons and any cookie that includes nuts. I don’t have a shortbread that I love, so I am excited to give this one a try.

  17. These look divine, the texture looks just right! I love the idea of the “12 days of cookies.” Ready for cookie swap season :) Lovely photos and blog!

  18. They look superb!
    During the holidays I always bake cookies with my 6 year old daughter and bring them to all our friends, neighbors and the inhabitants of a nursing home where my father lives, as a seasons greating. So I just found my recipe-encyclopedia for this year!! Thanks very much!

  19. Great blog! Amazing recipes! Delicious shortbread cookies!
    I’m going to try at home right now :D

  20. thanks, ana!

  21. erika shern says:

    December 4th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    thank you for this beautiful site!
    i just found you and i look forward to your writings and recipes. perhaps i’ll even (gasp!) bake a little here and there – i’m really more of a cook, but who could resist those cookies?

  22. Wow, making this asap. They look amazing.

  23. Yum, yum! These look delish.

  24. I just made half this recipe, the results ended up being delicious, tender and flakey. I’d do it again.

    You may want to reduce the sugar just a tad, it was a little too sweet for my liking. Thanks for posting this!

    Merry Christmas!

  25. brown sugar (“butterscotch”) shortbread is one of my all-time favorites, a cookie I’ve been baking for 15+ years. I rely on a cut-out version, but this sounds fantastic. I do think the low cooking temperature is a key — helps the sugar and butter to caramelize into unbelievable deliciousness. Never would have thought to use bread flour, though … intriguing. Thanks for the post! Molly

  26. I’m hooked on this site after seeing the initial cookie offering, a shortbread; I’ve been looking for the definitive shortbread recipe for some time, perhaps this it it. For those of us who can’t splurge on a food scale, are there general rules for translating dry measurements from weight to the more traditional volume (or could someone offer those needed for this recipe)?

  27. Hi Anne, If you google there are lots of online recipe converters you can use to go from weight to volume which will help you translate this recipe. Happy baking!

  28. I feel SO LUCKY to have been able to sink my teeth into one of these babies today… Thank you Tim!

  29. I feel SO LUCKY to have seen you today! Thanks for coming. Give Ames a hug. xo

  30. Sandra Moore says:

    December 5th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I actually found you through Heidi’s site, which I dearly love. I can’t wait to try all your cookies, and some other things I see that look wonderful! I’m so glad I found you…..I must say thank you to Heidi!

  31. Wow I can’t wait for all the cookies recipes! Since I was a little girl, me and my mum have spent the weeks before Christmas in baking frenzy and we were always on the hunt for new recipes. I never quite got shortbread right, can’t wait to give this a try! I just love the smell of cookies. Unfortunately this year no baking for me, as I currently have no oven… But I have added this on top of my ‘to do’ list – thanks!

  32. Just found this while trolling for new holiday cookie recipes. They look amazing, and I”m wondering if you can use cookie cutters to make them into shapes as well? Post-bake, of course.

  33. Hi Christine, I wouldn’t do that. I think it will be difficult to cut through the dough with a cookie cutter. It is pretty dense and full of walnuts so the shapes will not be crisp and clean. Also, you would lose a lot of cookie. For me these work best as these sort of rustic squares. If you do give it a try, let us all know how it works out. Thanks!

  34. I made these this evening exactly as the recipe directed. YUM! I removed them uncut using the parchment and used my pizza cutter. That worked very well. Mine were a little softer than shortbread but expect them to dry a little if they are around that long.
    I used my Weight Watchers scale since I don’t have a regular kitchen scale.
    Great variation on shortbread.

  35. I’m pretty sure homemade is the only way to go with shortbread – it’s got to be warm and tender to be really GOOD. That’s just my opinion, but then I’m a girl that flat out refuses to eat most hard cookies. That being said, I love these, and the 12 Days of Cookies concept.

    Hip, hip…!

  36. Deena Millecam says:

    December 8th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Looks so easy and not a lot of ingredients. I love in Indonesia so this will be perfect. Thanks

  37. These look delicious. I can’t wait to try them! We’re vegan so I don’t know how easy it would be to veganize them, but they look like they would be worth the effort. Thanks.

  38. These were sort of quietly wonderful with regular walnuts, but even better with black walnuts. Only a third of the walnuts I used were the black kind, but that’s enough to give a powerful scent to the cookies. I was a bit confused by the directions for quarter and half sheet pans, but obviously I loved them. Thank you for these great cookies!

  39. These are in the oven right now! The dough tastes fabulous, and I cannot wait to taste them. I had to make my own brown sugar because I was out, but I’m sure that;ll just amplify the flavors even more. Sooo excited for these to be done!

  40. These are so delicious! The amount was perfect for giving out to friends but still having quite the stash for myself. Thanks Tim!

  41. So glad you liked these! You’ve inspired me to make another batch tonight.

  42. 13 Days of Cookies is one of the best recipe collections out there…

  43. Duh, 12!! Well, we can definitely always use another L&D cookie recipe!

  44. I made these but substituted the walnuts with 2/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger plus 1 tsp of ground ginger. They came out amazing!! I served with chopped strawberries, honey-vanilla greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh mint for the 4th. Amazing!!!

What do you think?