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25 Days of Shanghai Christmas: Dec 18 A Christmas Shortbread Recipe

These are mooncake molds, for using during mid-autumn festival, but I’ve been thinking for a while now they would make great shortbread molds, giving me some extra mileage out of them at Christmas. These hand-carved molds were bought at Dongtai Lu in Shanghai, but can be picked up cheaply at any antiques market in China for about 40 yuan each (about $7), and after a good wash in soapy water, and an oiling with vegetable oil, they’re good to go. The patterns are beautiful, like the lotus pod with a tiny lucky butterfly, a patterned leaf, and stylised double happiness symbols. This week I had the chance to try them out on my favourite shortbread recipe, but you can also use traditional shortbread molds, butter molds, or simply shape the shortbread freeform. Because this recipe is so easy to make and keeps well,  it’s a great fast and easy gift.

Scottish Shortbread
  • 180g good quality butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 75g rice flour or ground rice (plain flour can be substituted, the ground rice gives the shortbread a traditional gritty texture)

  • Preheat oven to 150C
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour
  • Add flour and ground rice and mix well into a dough
  • Refrigerate dough for 30 mins
  • Using your hands, form dough into a flat patty a little bigger than the size of the mold
  • Press dough down firmly into the mould, them peel away and place on baking sheet
  • Trim edges with a knife
  • Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden (larger shortbreads will take longer than small ones)
  • Sprinkle lightly with extra caster sugar while still warm

  • Louise

    What beautiful molds. They'll be fantastic souvenirs of your time in Shanghai. And isn't it wonderful to put things to a different use? I have a set of planet molds that were meant to be used for a plaster kit, but then I used them for chocolate molds, and then made a space cake for my sons birthday a few years ago. Another cracking post, thanks.

  • Jeannie

    Those are very beautiful moulds you have there…I wonder why you didn't just fill in the mould with enough dough and knock them out instead of having to trim away the excess?

  • Fiona

    Hi Jeannie – great idea, although I tried that, but even with the dough refrigerated and stiff it got stuck in the molds – they're quite deep.


    those moulds are amazing! I love them! :))


    oh i love the mooncake molds! that really is a lovely touch!

  • briarrose

    Just lovely. The molds are beautiful.

  • Stormy @LaMaoomba

    These are lovely! The molds, alone, are worth having stumbled upon this post.

  • Sarah-Jane –

    there is something very endearing about old fashioned wooden shortbread moulds. Lovely photos

    Merry Christmas

  • shannon

    those are really beautiful…nice collection. Congrats on foodbuzz top 9!!

  • Fiona

    Thank you so much! They are really beautiful, it's lovely to think of the cooks who have used them before you, then off a dusty shelf at a market and back into a new cook's kitchen.

    And thanks for the Top 9!