Heidesand (German Shortbread Cookies)

Shortbread cookies are one of the simplest and easiest cookies to make, and you only need staple ingredients so they are quick to make any time. I have a bunch of shortbread cookies I make on repeat, but I saw this recipe for German shortbread that uses brown butter so of course I wanted to try the recipe.

These cookies do need a rest in the fridge overnight so plan ahead, but when ready to bake all you do is slice the logs of dough into rounds, roll edges in sugar and bake, so it is super fast. You can use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste in these. This recipe made probably about 30 or so good sized cookies. I made them a bit larger than the recipe said to make them.

These are very crisp, crumbly cookies with a good brown butter/vanilla flavor. I liked how easy they were to bake and the fact that I could make them with stuff I always have around the house. These would ship really well too.

Heidesand (German Shortbread Cookies)

Brown butter shortbread
Prep Time 1 day 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 1 day 23 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 30 cookies


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • sugar for rolling edges


  • Brown the butter my melting in a sauce pan over medium heat until it foams. Swirl the butter and watch it until it starts to form brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Stop when it is golden and don't allow it to burn.
  • Set aside to cool fully. When cook, whisk and add the sugar, milk and vanilla. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour to the butter and gently mix to combine.
  • It will resemble sand and the dough is meant to be fairly dry and crumbly. Gently work it until it starts to come together into a mass. Pour onto a clean counter top and push the dough together until it forms a solid mass. Form into two logs (I did mine about 2-3 inches in diameter although the original recipe said 1 inch). Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight.
  • Heat oven to 350. Unwrap the dough and slice into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Roll edges in sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until starting to turn golden on the edges, but barely. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Keyword Dessert

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