Hungarian Shortbread

Hungarian Shortbread

When I read through today’s recipe for the baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie, I immediately fell in love.

In. Love.

Although I don’t bake it very often, I do love shortbread. And the completely new-to-me technique of freezing and grating the dough was intriguing. I imagined a tender, fluffy cookie, yet somehow still sandy (the hallmark, of course, of really good shortbread).

Indeed, this recipe should be called “Hungarian Shortbread Cake,” or maybe “Hungarian Shortbread Cookie Bars” — more substantial than traditional shortbread, this party-worthy confection has double-stacked layers of soft and sandy-chewy shortbread sandwiched with tart jam.

Being a salty-over-sweet kind of girl, I’m a try-it-once-and-move-on baker. But this recipe is a keeper.

Hungarian Shortbread

The full recipe fills an entire 9″ x 12″ pan — way too dangerous, in both directions: if I didn’t like it, I’d be annoyed about the wasted ingredients; if I did like it, well, salty vs. sweet be damned … too many squares would find their way into my belly.

The recipe cuts cleanly in half — no funky math — and I pulled out my 7″ x 7″ square cake ring. A springform pan would work really well, too. (And actually there’s nothing wrong with a regular, four-sided cake pan, except for that first mangled piece. I do like using rings, though: less surface for things to stick to, no hold-your-breath inversions, less surface area to clean up (if you bake on parchment paper or a silpat mat). Cake rings are the lazy person’s shortcut to a refined presentation.)

The cookie layers are somewhat thick, so, worried that the shortbread wouldn’t bake all the way through in their double-layered state, I blind baked the bottom layer for 15 minutes (photo above, before baking), then added the jam, followed by the top layer of shortbread, and baked the whole kit and caboodle for 35 minutes.

Hungarian Shortbread

Like a dolt, I forgot to photograph the jam layer — it was so pretty, too! [pout]

The recipe calls for a homemade rhubarb jam — we’ve got rhubarb coming out of our ears in Cincinnati, but, I really wanted to use (and use up) the blood orange marmalade I made earlier this year. I concluded the tart citrus would be an equitable swap for the tart rhubarb.

Hungarian Shortbread

And it was really, really good. Big thumbs-up on any kind of citrusy jam or marmalade for this recipe.

Karen xoxo

This post is part of Tuesdays with Dorie, an online baking group working its way through “Baking with Julia,” by Dorie Greenspan. The Hungarian Shortbread project is hosted this week by:

Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler; and,
Lynette of 1smallkitchen.

You’ll find the full recipe and instructions on their sites. Also check out Tuesdays with Dorie to see how the other bakers’ shortbread treats turned out.


  1. Wow! Your shortcake looks delicious… I’m definitely going to make it again.
    I loved it, and though I’d reduced the butter by 1/3 it still was great!
    Thanks for baking along!
    Greetings from Switzerland.

  2. Very lovely :-) They look so pretty sitting there with just a dusting of light highlighting them.

    I was a little worried when I made the full recipe, but these went so quickly that the only thing I should have been afraid of was having my hand bitten off before I could get them cut up. I used preserves from the pantry as well – it was a great way to use some of them up.

  3. Mmm, looks delicious and sounds it too with the citrus jam!!

    I completely agree with the name though. I keep having to clarify with people. “Would you like some shortbread? Except it’s really more like a cake, or maybe a square, but it kind of tastes like shortbread…” hahah

  4. I made half the recipe for the same reasons! Yours look great.

  5. I didn’t expect my comment to go through as every wordpress account is rejecting me! Wonder why yours is different? If you have any ideas would you stop by my blog? Thank you!

  6. It seems many of us halved the recipe. Great pictures and yummy shortbread!

  7. wow.. amazing photographs!! blood orange marmalade.. how delish was that??!?!

  8. OMG your cookie bars/shortbread look practically picture perfect! :) Glad you liked them!

  9. Beautiful! I’m chuckling at how many people cut the recipe in half (or less!). I just give it all to other people. :)

  10. Baking In Bawlmer says:

    Wise idea to only bake a partial recipe. I am thinking of eating 1/2 of the pan and telling my family that I only baked a partial recipe. I wonder if they will catch on when I have powder sugar on my chin?

  11. Looks delicious. I don’t think I’ve stumbled on your blog yet during Tuesdays with Dorie. It’s always impossible to get to everyone’s. I will certainly be back! I love your photography and the soup theme. I’m a salty over sweet person too, but these were fantastic!

  12. I made half the recipe too and our family loved it.


  13. I wish I halved the recipe…now I have a stash of hungarian shortbread in my freezer! Not so bad! I’m sure the marmalade was wonderful in this recipe! Lovely photos…very pretty shortbread!

  14. Not quite shortbread The topping reminded me of a crumbcake, but it wasn’t quite that either. No problem, this was delicious no matter what you call it. The blood orange marmalade sounds tasty and the color is quite striking. I think any jam would work as long as it’s not too sweet. I like seeing all the different choices from this week’s bakers. (That lilac is quite glorious. I’m glad you got to see it bloom.)

  15. What perfect slices and perfect photos. Great post!

  16. Justin says:

    It looks so delicious! A thing a good as that deserves a lot of servings.

  17. Stunning! Your shortbread looks perfect Karen!

  18. Your shortbread looks so delicious! I don’t have any cake rings, but I like the idea a lot! I’m going to have to look through some catalogs at the store and find some!

  19. I can see how this would appeal to someone who prefers salty to sweet because of the buttery goodness & crispness. Yours looks just perfect!

  20. Looks wonderful! I’ll bet it would be good with Lemon Curd….

  21. Lovely Shortbread :-)

  22. Karen, Your Hungarian Shortbread looks, well, justr like Hungarian Shortbread is supposed to look. I love to cook to photos. I agree with you, this is a keeper. I am going to add it to my Christmas Cookies platters this year so am interested in cutting the sugar and butter some and finding a really yummy red filling. Tart Cherries, perhaps. But, blood orange anything works for me.

  23. Your shortbread looks like pure perfection. I like the way you styled you photos too, with the parchment paper and the rustic wood. Very impressive. Delicious for the eyes as well as the taste buds!

  24. Your photos and shortbread turned out absolutely perfect. I have marked your marmalade to make when I come across blood oranges again!

  25. It’s beautiful!

  26. Yours look lovely and I laughed out loud at this: “Cake rings are the lazy person’s shortcut to a refined presentation.”

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