Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies ~ maple infused and packed with nuts, this takes my classic slice and bake shortbread cookie recipe to a whole new level. Add these cookies to your holiday assortment, or keep them all to yourself as a reward for being so good this year 😉

This maple walnut shortbread cookie is simple yet sophisticated…definitely not something you’re going to find in the supermarket cookie aisle. 

Both maple and walnuts have a complex, lingering flavor that makes these cookies special. I love love LOVE cooking with maple, I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to it, and this flavor combination is a classic. In this recipe I use maple sugar, maple extract, and maple syrup for a triple maple threat. Maple sugar is sugar made from maple tree sap in the same way white sugar is made from sugar cane. Find it in natural food stores, and you can always buy it from Amazon, here. You can substitute brown sugar if you need to.


But it’s not all about the flavor  ~ my basic slice and bake shortbread cookies have such a great melt in your mouth texture, whether you eat them warm from the oven, or let them cool.

Why does shortbread have that melt in your mouth texture?

  • It’s a really interesting question, and it has to do with chemistry! Shortbread cookie dough doesn’t contain any liquid ingredients like you normally find in cookie recipes, so they don’t rise, and the formation of gluten is retarded.
  • The addition of cornstarch (which is gluten free) reduces the total amount of gluten in the recipe which further tenderizes the shortbread.
  • Shortbread cookies can be soft or crisp, depending on how thick they are and how long you cook them, but they will never be chewy.
  • Note: these cookies are not gluten free, although you can make them with a good gluten free baking mix.


I love an easy cookie recipe and it doesn’t get much easier than this. 

Mix up the dough and roll it into a log. Chill until firm and then slice it up and bake. The log of dough can sit for up to a week in your refrigerator. Up to a year in the freezer.

3 tips for perfect maple walnut shortbread cookies~

  1.  Use good quality butter (stock up when it goes on sale and freeze it) don’t go for the cheapo brand, it contains more water, for one thing, and will affect the texture of your cookies.
  2.  I use a heavy duty USA baking sheet for all my cookie recipes, the pan bakes evenly and never warps.
  3.  I keep an inexpensive oven thermometer in my oven at all times so I know exactly what the temperature is. It has a convenient hook on the top so you can hang it from the oven rack ~ mine just lives there.

These three tips go a long way toward eliminating baking fails during the busy holiday season.

maple walnut cookies with glaze

Make these maple walnut cookies your own ~

  • You can use another nut, like pecans, if you don’t love walnuts.
  • These shortbread cookies are nice without the frosting too. Have them with a cup of tea.
  • If you have a leaf cookie cutter you can roll out the dough (form it into a disk, wrap, and chill first) and make cute maple leaf cookies.
  • Did you know you can actually make your own maple sugar? There’s a recipe here, and all you need is maple syrup.
3.77 from 100 votes

Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
chilling 3 hours
Yield 21 cookies
Calories 184kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar packed (substitute light brown or granulated if you like)
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple extract if you can't find, use almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts plus more for topping


  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar sifted
  • about 5 Tbsp pure maple syrup not imitation


  • Cream the butter and the sugar together.
  • Beat in the extract.
  • Whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Blend them into the butter and sugar, until it forms a dough.
  • Stir in the walnuts and make sure you get them well distributed in the dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and form it into a log, about 9 or 10 inches long. Wrap it in the plastic and smooth it into a uniform smooth shape, twisting the ends to secure.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours.
  • Set oven to 350F
  • Slice the dough into 1/4 - 1/3 inch slices and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Thinner slices will bake up crispier, and thicker ones will be more buttery and soft.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes. The cookies will still be pale and soft, but will firm up as they cool.
  • Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a rack.
  • Make the frosting by whisking the sugar with enough maple syrup to form a spreadable frosting. If it is too thick, add a bit more syrup, and if it becomes too think add more sugar. Spread a layer on each cooled cookie and dust with crushed walnuts. The frosting will harden as it dries.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 184kcal
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

More maple treats on the blog ~


maple walnut cookie pin


Other maple walnut recipes to try ~

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    2 stars
    Why is there no salt? I made the cookies as directed without frostings. I tastes rather like sand. I guess it would be great with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    5 stars
    These cookies are fabulous! Officially my favorite cookie now. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Can I make these without walnuts?

    • Reply
      December 11, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Yes, you can substitute another nut, or leave them out.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann
    December 5, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Did you use English walnuts or Black walnuts?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      Regular walnuts, not black.

  • Reply
    Patty Kady
    December 2, 2019 at 7:28 am

    How many cookies does this make? I don’t see anything for amounts.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2019 at 7:32 am

      It makes about 21 cookies Patty. I’m just switching to a new recipe plugin and the amounts didn’t transfer over well, so I have to do individually.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    How do you make maple sugar from maple syrup?

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