As you are paying an obscene amount of money for that tiny package of “gourmet” shortbread cookies, do you ever stop to consider what’s in them? If you did, those boxes would moulder on the shelves.
Because, face it, even the most inexperienced baker can make Scottish shortbread – flour, sugar, butter.
Melt some chocolate and dip them in it – even better.
A simple cookie, shortbread appeals to picky eaters of every age.
But simple doesn’t mean bland. The layers of butter take care of that. There is no low-cal way to make shortbread – at least any way that results in the crumbly, flavor-packed bite that makes them irresistable.
Even though the recipe looks simple, you need a few tricks up your sleeve to make the best shortbread:
Do not soften the butter in the microwave – too spotty. Let it soften at room temperature, or if you have a gas oven with a pilot light, stick it in there for 20 minutes or so.
If you don’t have salted butter, add 1/2 tsp. salt to dough.
You can use a mixer to beat the butter and sugar, but do not use it to blend in flour. This stage needs a gentle touch to keep the flour gluten from toughening up. Even if it looks crumbly, the warmth from your hands and some gentle pressure will smooth the dough out when you press it in the pan.
A metal pan works best. If you have to use glass in a pinch, lower the heat by 25 degrees.
This is just a personal preference, but let the edges brown up some, so you get that good nutty flavor.
While dough is still warm, make deep, but not thorough, cuts to divide it. When it is cool, finish cutting the cookies.
Even though the smell will drive you wild, wait for the shortbread to cool down before eating it. Hot shortbread has a slightly raw taste – listen to the voice of experience here.
10 Tbsp. salted butter (11/4 stick)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Beat butter and sugars together until fluffy.
Sift flour over butter mixture. Knead flour in by hand until dough holds together. If it is just too crumbly, you can add a few drops of ice water.
Press dough firmly into an 8×8-inch pan. Prick surface deeply all over with a fork. Don’t go all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes, until edges turn golden brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Making shortbread is simple, but it does take a bit of