Brown Sugar Whole Wheat Shortbread


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Brown Sugar Whole Wheat Shortbread recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

Buttery and just barely sweetened, the brown sugar in this shortbread was a delicious change. The addition of the fresh whole wheat improved the texture and added a new dimension to the flavor as well.

I am not usually a fan of basic shortbread. Yet, I kept finding myself going back for one more piece. I finally resorted to sending the rest of these home with a friend later that day.

These were not very pretty cookies, by anyone’s standards. However, they were delicious.

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If I had taken a little more time rolling out the shortbread and then cutting it into even pieces for the oven; it is likely that I would have arrived at a much lovelier final result. Pretty or not, they were delicious!

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Brown Sugar Whole Wheat Shortbread


  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour I used freshly ground hard white wheat


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk together the flours and then slowly add the flours to the butter mixture. Combine all ingredients well.
  • Using your fingertips or a rolling pin, press out the dough on a silpat mat. Press the dough to about 1/3" thickness. This made a rectangle approximately 8"x10" in size. Cut into triangles or rectangles and place on a baking sheet. Dust with brown sugar and use your fingertips to smooth the sugar across the top of the cookies. Pierce them with a fork prior to baking.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just barely browned around the edges. Let cool on the sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy!
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Sue/the view from great island says

    I think they look really beautiful, what are you talking about? You've really inspired me to introduce whole wheat flour into so many things, and after eating a few too many of my dark chocolate shortbreads, these are sounding pretty good to me right now.

  2. Jean | Delightful Repast says

    "These were not very pretty cookies" – Mary, how can you say that! They are gorgeous! And I always just use my hands to press out shortbread, never bother getting the rolling pin out. Might try your whole wheat recipe out to go with my next batch of eggnog!

  3. Jill says

    I am going to be making these very soon…maybe tomorrow! On a side note, you use a lot of freshly ground wheat flour and I am thinking of starting to do that too. Do you find that it is pretty cost effective to grind your own flour?

  4. JavelinWarrior says

    I've only dabbled in baking sweets with whole wheat flour so this is very intriguing to me. I'm imagining the whole wheat gives a bit of a nutty flavor and keeps the shortbread soft…? Nom nom nom

  5. six string kevin says

    These reviews are all about six or seven years old now, and I don’t see any follow-ups…so I wonder, did anyone like this recipe after using it a few times?

    Some shortbread cookie recipes I looked at so far had 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour, and others call for 4 parts flour. This one has 4 part flour, if I did the math correctly. So maybe you have too much flour…but I don’t know. I’ll have to try this–but I might start with less flour.

    I used to use the Fanny Farmer Boston School of Cooking Cookbook (beginning about 1968), and now I can’t find it, or any recipes from it. So I don’t know how much flour I used in the recipe from that cookbook.

    I do know I always substitute whole wheat pastry flour in every single recipe I use, for absolutely every kind of baked good or cooked dish recipe I ever used (including pie crusts, biscuits, and gravies–and I add extra baking powder, too, since that flour is more substantial than white flour–but I won’t need any leavening for shortbread cookies).

    Regular whole wheat flour isn’t always the best substitute for all purpose or unbleached flour, but whole wheat pastry flour has never let me down–and I have been baking since 1968…

    OK, so I guess”normal” people think whole wheat cookies and cakes are unusual, apparently.

    But did you know that the white-flour mill, the place to make white flour, wasn’t invented, in the US, until 1865? This is 2018 now, which is the year 5778 on the Jewish calendar. (That means they have 5,778 years of history of human civilization).

    It was 5625 on that Jewish calendar when white flour was invented, which means we had white flour available for 153 years (but sales have been good for only about 100 to 110 years, since almost no one would buy that stuff when it first came out.)

    There was only whole grain flour before that, for over 5,000 years (and just about all of it stone ground, I imagine). And we know they made loaves of bread, leavened and unleavened, and flat bread, and other kinds of baked goods, too–for thousands of years before white flour.

    So my point is that we should not ever need anything called “enriched” flour–especially since that really means “depleted,” as in having no nutrients from nature remaining in it. But it does have synthetic, so-called “nutrients” added…but that is actually worse than using pure wheat starch (white flour) without any “enriching,” since synthetic “nutrients” won’t have any good effects on your long-term health.

    Maybe not using white flour seems abnormal today, but it sure would be good if we could change that. Thank you for a whole wheat recipe like this. In some stores, they used to sell Walkers Wholemeal Shortbread Cookies,” and they were made with course-ground whole grain wheat, which made them very good. So I think I’ll make some with all whole wheat pastry flour, but also some with part whole wheat pastry and part stone-ground whole wheat.

    First I’m going to try 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, and 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour, and no salt (it’s good the recipe calls for no salt, although it doesn’t specify unsalted butter–and you really shouldn’t need any when using no white flour). We’ll see what happens…

  6. Rede Batcheller says

    Is that supposed to say 3/4 CUP of whole wheat flour or does it mean 3/4 of the 1 1/2 cups listed should be whole wheat OR does it mean something completely else . . . ?