Prize Shortbread

Every Christmas for as long as I can remember my Mom made these little coin-sized shortbread cookies with green and red maraschino cherries (before we go any further, it’s an absolute myth that maraschino cherries contain formaldehyde). This is another well-loved recipe from my ancient copy of A Guide to Good Cooking by Five Roses Flour. I’ve also decorated these tasty little nubbins with a single silver dragée, which makes them look so delicate and beautiful (I couldn’t find my dragée stash when I made this batch). Also, I like to go a little heavy on the freshly grated nutmeg, which just shines in this recipe.

Prize shortbreads
Prize shortbread

I get tons of compliments on these whenever someone tries them, and they are ridiculously easy. I want to try a variation on these though, after trying a colleague’s lavender shortbread, which was delicately perfumed and flavoured with the scent of lavender, and be-speckled with the flowers throughout. Definitely something to experiment with!

Prize Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from A Guide to Good Cooking by Five Roses Flour

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • red and/or green maraschino cherries or dragées for decorating
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream softened butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg and egg yolk.
  3. Add flour, a little at a time, until mixture is too stiff to work with a spoon. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead, adding a little flour at a time, until dough just begins to crack at the edges.
  4. Dough may be rolled out and cut into shapes or rolled into 1 tsp balls and gently flattened with your thumb. Decorate by gently pressing small slices of maraschino cherries (red and green if you prefer) or dragées into the dough prior to baking.
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until delicately golden at edges.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.


  1. monica nelson says:

    I have a ancient copy of the Five Roses cookbook with the above recipe. The book was my grandmother’s dated 1938 and this recipe is fabulous

  2. Terri says:

    This is my FAVOURITE shortbread. My mom still has the original Five Roses cookbook her mother had. Can’t miss and melts in your mouth. The best…

  3. Tracey says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! The five roses website is under construction; my copy of the cookbook is IN Canada and I am IN the states and they have NEVER heard of Five Roses here in Washington State, so I thought all hope was lost for my Winter favorite! I’m sooo glad that you published this! Happy New Year! It truly is the best…

  4. Sherry says:

    Is there a Five Roses Website?? I haven’t found it….please share!!
    Thanks. 🙂

  5. admin says:

    Five Roses still exists but it is a subsidiary brand of Smucker Foods of Canada Corp. The website for all of Smucker’s many brands is Enjoy!

  6. Hi, I was wandering what is happening to Five Roses Flour? I live in Calgary and can’t seem to find it anymore!!!! I absolutely love baking with it. My bread has won many awards and as you see by my email and website that I love to bake. Thanks

  7. Carolle says:

    My husband doesn’t like nutmeg. Is it really necessary for this recipe or can I skip it. Or is it such a small amount that you can really taste it? I have the Five Rose book that my mom gave me 37 years ago as a young bride. It is well worn and I’ve done a lot of the recipes over the years.

  8. admin says:

    It’s not necessary at all — it adds a nice flavour for those who like it (I tend to add a little more than a pinch because I love it), but if someone has an allergy or aversion, just leave it out!

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