Melting Moments | RecipeTin Eats

Shortbread biscuits sandwiched with lemon icing. Melting Moments are a timeless Australian cafe favourite! True to their name, they literally “melt” in your mouth. They are delectable!

Freshly made Melting Moments

Melting Moments – flashback!

I am pretty sure Melting Moments is one of the first baked goods I ever attempted to make. The recipe from the Women’s Weekly “Best Ever Recipes” cookbook published back in the 1970’s or 1980’s which, to this day, is still my all time favourite cookbook. It holds such sentimental value, being the very first cookbook I ever owned. (Actually, “owned” is a bit of a loose term given I stole it from my mother. 😂)

Women's Weekly Best Ever Recipes cookbook

The recipe I use today is based on the original Melting Moments recipe from this cookbook, though the ingredient quantities and mixing method has been slightly tweaked for what I think is a better “melt in your mouth” texture.

Also, the original recipe called for star shaped biscuits to be half dipped in chocolate then sandwiched with orange buttercream frosting, as pictured above. These days the popular cafe variety is plain biscuits joined with lemon frosting which is what I’m sharing today.

Ingredients in Melting Moments

Melting Moments are shortbread cookies joined together with lemon buttercream frosting. While some recipes call for custard powder to make the cookies more yellow, I personally prefer the flavour without imitation custard flavour. 🙂

The cookies

  • Flour – Just plain / all-purpose flour.

  • Cornflour / cornstarch – This is what gives shortbread cookies the signature soft “crumbly” texture.

  • Icing sugar (soft) / powdered sugar – This is the sweetener for melting moments which gives the cookies the signature shortbread cookie texture (ordinary sugar makes them harder).

    ⚠️ Australia – Get packets labelled “SOFT icing sugar” or “icing sugar mixture” not pure icing sugar (packet labelled as such). Soft icing sugar is sugar mixed with cornflour/cornstarch, tapioca that is used for fluffy frostings. Pure icing sugar (packet labelled as such) is made with 100% sugar only and is used for icing that sets hard, like royal icing.

  • Unsalted butter – Softened to room temperature which is (technically!) 17°C / 63°F. Don’t let the butter soften too much else the dough is a little more tricky to roll into balls.

  • Vanilla extract – For flavour. Extract is better than imitation essence. I wouldn’t use vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste for this purpose – it’s a waste!

lemon ICING

Older-style recipes, such as the original Women’s Weekly recipe, tended to use icings which are not as creamy but firmer and a bit crumbly. These days, the cafe versions use buttercream frosting which is soft, creamy and fluffy, with the most common being lemon flavoured. So that’s what I use in my recipe. However, I’m also including a passionfruit version too!

  • Unsalted butter – Softened to room temperature so it can be whipped into a fluffy frosting.

  • Soft icing sugar / powdered sugar – As noted above, be sure to get soft icing sugar! If you use pure icing sugar the frosting will not be soft and fluffy, it sets hard.

  • Lemon – Both zest and lemon juice.

For a passionfruit frosting, you will need passionfruit pulp (fresh, not canned, it’s too sweet) plus a bit of lemon to balance out the flavours.

Passionfruit Melting Moments
The recipe also includes a passionfruit icing version!

How to make melting moments

  1. Cream butter – Place butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl. Beat for 1 minute until smooth and fluffy, starting on low speed to avoid an icing sugar cloud-storm.

  2. Dry in dry in 3 lots – Add 1/3 of the cornflour and flour, then stir it in with a rubber spatula. Once the flour is incorporated, add half the remaining cornflour and flour, stir in, then repeat. The mixture is a a little softer than usual cookie dough, but it shouldn’t be pourable.

  1. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto the trays – 28 mounds in total. A cookie scoop with a lever is handy here!

  2. Roll – Then roll into balls using lightly floured hands to prevent the dough from sticking. As mentioned above, this dough is a little softer that typical cookie dough.

  1. Flatten with fork – Use a fork dipped in flour to press the balls down to 1 cm / 0.4″ thickness.

  2. Bake for 15 minutes in a 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan-forced) oven, switching the tray shelves and rotating at the 10 minute mark. The cookies should be very pale golden, not browned.

  1. Fully cool on the trays.

  2. Lemon icing – Meanwhile, make the lemon icing. Beat the butter first until creamy, then gradually add the icing sugar, starting on low with the handheld beater to avoid a snow-storm. Add the lemon zest and juice, then beat on high for 2 minutes to make the frosting nice and fluffy!

  1. Sandwich the melting moments together with lemon frosting. A piping bag makes short work on this as well as making the edges of the icing nice and tidy, but you could just spread with a spoon or knife.

  2. Refrigerate 1 hour – You can eat the cookies straight away but the frosting will be a little soft so it squirts out when you bite into the cookies. So to reduce squirt-age, I like to refrigerate the melting moments for 1 hour to set the frosting. Then bring to room temperature before eating which softens the frosting again, but it’s still not as soft as when freshly made so it won’t squirt out as much.

    (I really never thought I’d use the word “squirt” so much in one paragraph. What has become of me?? 😂)

Stack of Melting Moments

Why homemade tastes better

Make these for afternoon tea, for a bake sale, for book club with your friends. Or, just because homemade Melting Moments really are that much better than mass-produced store bought ones. Yes, I really did buy some so I could tell you that the cookies aren’t as “melt in your mouth” and the frosting is usually dried out rather than creamy inside.

But the thing that bothers me the most is that many store bought cookies aren’t made with butter but instead use more cost effective fat options like vegetable shortening which have no flavour. Butter is what makes these so good!!

I hope you get a chance to make these one of these days. They really are special! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Freshly made Melting Moments

Melting Moments

Servings14 cookies (sandwiched)

Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. These special cookies are an Australian cafe favourite. Shortbread cookies joined with lemon buttercream frosting, they are beautifully buttery, lemony and true to their name, literally “melt in your mouth” unlike any other cookie I know!My cookies are generous sized because I like them big: 6cm / 2.4″ diameter, 3.5-4cm / 1.5″ thick. I wouldn’t go any larger (too much cookie) but feel free to go smaller!


  • Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan-forced). Line 2 trays with paper.

  • Cream butter – Place butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl. Beat for 1 minute until smooth and fluffy (start on low to avoid an icing sugar cloud-storm).

  • Dry in 3 lots – Stir in cornflour and flour in 3 lots using a rubber spatula. (ie add 1/3 of flour + cornflour, stir in, repeat twice more).

  • Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto the trays (cookie scoop handy here), then roll into balls using lightly floured hands (to prevent it from sticking). You should have 24 – 28 balls.

  • Bake – Press down into 1 cm / 0.4″ thickness using a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, switching the trays at the 10 minute mark. Fully cool on trays.

  • Sandwiching – Pipe frosting onto half the melting moments, then sandwich with remaining cookies.

  • Set – Refrigerate for 1 hour to set the frosting (else it’s so soft, it squirts out!). Then remove from the fridge 30 minutes prior to serving.

Lemon icing:

  • Cream butter – Place butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high for 1 minute until smooth and fluffy. Add 1/3 of the icing sugar, then beat in starting on low and increasing to high (to avoid snow-storm!). Repeat another 2 times.

  • Beat 2 minutes – Add lemon zest and juice. Then beat on high for 2 minutes until fluffy. Transfer to piping bag, snip end off to make a 1cm / 1/2″ hole. Use per recipe.

Recipe Notes:

1. Butter US measurement – Astute bakers will notice that 250g doesn’t equal 2 sticks of butter (a US measurement) but that’s ok, the cookies still come out perfect because US cup measures are actually a touch smaller than Australian cups (and most of the rest of the world). Made specifically with 2 sticks and US cups and cookies came out perfectly.
2. Icing sugar type – If you’re in Australia, don’t get pure icing sugar, sets hard like for royal icing. Get packet labelled SOFT icing sugar or “icing sugar mixture”, or check the ingredients and ensure there’s either cornflour/cornstarch, tapioca or similar as well as cane sugar/sugar.
Storage – Keep in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days. It’s best to store in the fridge but bring to room temperature before serving. Though if it’s fairly cool weather, you can just keep in the pantry.
Nutrition per Melting Moment. Remember, these are generously sized! 🙂

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 335cal (17%)Carbohydrates: 36g (12%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 21g (32%)Saturated Fat: 13g (81%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mg (18%)Sodium: 4mgPotassium: 22mg (1%)Fiber: 0.4g (2%)Sugar: 21g (23%)Vitamin A: 625IU (13%)Vitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 8mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Life of Dozer

This happens a thousand times a day. You can see how much he loves it. 😂

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