Breakfast Dessert Gingerbread Holidays Shortbread Winter

Gingerbread Shortbread with a Nutmeg Glaze

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Gingerbread Shortbread Sliced

Gingerbread Shortbread with a Nutmeg Glaze ~ a holiday shortbread spiced with all the best seasonal flavors!  Perfect for gifting, or squirreling away for a quiet cup of coffee or tea.

Gingerbread Shortbread on a cooling rack

Flavors have seasons just like vegetables and fruits do.  I’m slowly working through my gingerbread obsession this month.  I’ll have to put it  aside come the New Year, but that’s ok with me.  I get how it works, and I like the twinge of urgency that the short season brings to my favorite tastes.  It’s eat it or lose it, so let’s get to it!

Gingerbread Shortbread

This is a subtle gingerbread shortbread with a really wonderful nutmeg glaze.  The glaze really makes it.  I’ve been so excited by spice glazes and frostings this season.

The intense sweet combined with the warm spice is unexpected and lingers on the palate.


Gingerbread is defined by a combination of spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, along with the distinctive presence of molasses.  It can range from a moist cake, to super spicy dense cookies.  I like to take those defining ingredients and use them to bring the essence of gingerbread to other things, like scones, pancakes, and this shortbread.  As gingerbreads go, the flavor of this shortbread  is comparatively mild.  You can also form this dough into a log, chill it, and slice into cookies.  But don’t forget to glaze them.  It’s the combination that makes this recipe so good.



Gingerbread Shortbread with Nutmeg Glaze

I think gingerbread is my favorite fall and holiday flavor, and I’ve got lots more where this came from ~

Gingerbread Shortbread on a cooling rack
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3.5 from 10 votes

Gingerbread Shortbread with Nutmeg Glaze

Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp each: cinnamon cardamom, allspice, nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour

for the glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • milk or cream to thin
  • freshly grated nutmeg


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the spices, molasses, and vanilla.
  • Mix in the flour until a soft dough forms.
  • Spread the dough into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingers at first to distribute the dough and then smooth it out evenly with a spreading knife.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. The shortbread will still be pale in color.
  • Make the glaze by mixing the sugar with enough cream or milk to form a spreadable glaze. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste. I like quite a lot. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust to your liking.
  • Let the shortbread cool before glazing.


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  • Reply
    Esther F Crandall
    December 19, 2018 at 11:59 am

    OMG! I just made this and couldn’t wait to try it. It is absolutely delicious. I used a little cinnamon instead of nutmeg in the glaze. Amazing recipe. I think I will probably make a couple more in the next week for Christmas and an upcoming potluck. An easy and super delicious recipe. Thank you.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks so much for the feedback Esther, I’m so glad you were happy with it. It’s an older post and you’ve inspired me to make it again 🙂

  • Reply
    November 19, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I know this recipe was posted 3 years ago but I am crossing my fingers that someone can answer this question for me. Just wondering if this dough can be rolled out and cut out with cookie cutters. Looking for something yummy for a cookie swap.

    • Reply
      November 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      I use my basic shortbread recipe in all kinds of ways, Debby ~ I sometimes bake it in a pan, like this, and other times I roll it out, or even form it into a log and slice and bake. I think that should work fine with this recipe. You might refer to one of my shortbread cookies for instructions ~

      • Reply
        November 25, 2016 at 6:42 pm

        Thanks Sue, I am going to give these a trial run this weekend. I ultimately have to bake 7 dozen cookies. I am hoping that I can get at least some of them baked ahead of time and freeze.. Then get them frosted and package for the cookie exchange a day ahead of time.
        Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    This looks so yummy! Thinking of making it for a cookie swap. Do these slice cleanly (like in your photos) and does the glaze harden enough to stack? Thanks!

    • Reply
      November 28, 2014 at 6:52 am

      I believe these did harden enough to stack, Faye! You have to leave them out for a while though. It’s a little tricky because it depends on how thick you make the frosting layer. If you want to stack them I would suggest being extra careful to make a good indent in the cookie with the sugared glass. Another trick is to re-do the indentation with the same glass right as the cookies come out of the oven.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I just had to tell you how wonderful this was! My whole family enjoyed it, even my picky 2 year old! Easy to make, beautiful, and delicious. Definitely a keeper 🙂

  • Reply
    December 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

    i love shortbread. this looks amazing!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    You sound a bit nostalgic already;) But, this recipe sounds so perfect….I have only made one gingerbread recipe this holiday season-I need to play catch up!!! I wonder if a white chocolate nutmeg drizzle would be any good…I really wish I could get white chocolate in this corner of the world…

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    December 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    That nutmeg glaze is perfection!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I would have never thought of gingerbread shortbread but I am loving the idea. The nutmeg glaze sounds like the perfect topping!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 17, 2013 at 4:45 am

    You get all oooohhhh’s and awwwww’s from me! A beautiful shortbread indeed! Love a glaze and those warm rich spices like nutmeg and cinnamon really speak to me too. Salads can come later 🙂

  • Reply
    December 17, 2013 at 4:02 am

    that glaze, sue. oh, that glaze. way to elevate some shortbread!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I haven’t made any gingerbread yet this season – guess I better get baking! I think I’ll make the cookie version of this – fluted tart pans tend to scare me.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      I love my tart pans with the removable bottoms, I think they make things so much easier. But these will be just as nice as cookies.

  • Reply
    thyme (sarah)
    December 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Oh, yum. I adore anything with the word “gingerbread” attached to it. This looks delicious!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Yum! This is a keeper. It reminds me so much of my grandmother’s recipe for ginger shortbread with a ginger glaze. And yes, the glaze makes it!