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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shortbread- Scottish, Irish and English Variations

Shortbread is my #1 favorite cookie. I think it's the simplicity of it, with it's crumbly texture, and delicately sweet, buttery flavor.
Shortbread has a long history, dating back to the 12th century. They are very simple to make, from just a few ingredients, But are baked at a lower temperature, over a longer period, to avoid browning. So they are a little more time consuming, but very worth it. I rarely make these, because I cannot leave them alone. I really can't decide which variety, I prefer. They are all wonderful.



Scottish Shortbread
To make true Scottish shortbread, it must be, one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour, and nothing else. But I like to add, just a little salt.
1/2cup sugar
1-1/2cups flour
1/8tsp. salt
1cup butter

Preheat the oven to 300*F
Whisk together, the dry ingredients. First, cut in the butter, then work it through with your fingers, until it's well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen.


Irish Shortbread

Irish shortbread, replaces some of the flour, with cornstarch and adds vanilla. It's slightly less grainy, than Scottish shortbread. I found this recipe at  David Lebovitz site. His recipe called for sea salt, but I used table salt, and halved the amount.

1-1/4cups flour
1/2cup cornstarch
1/8tsp.salt
1/2cup sugar
1tsp vanilla
1cup cold butter

Preheat the oven to 300*F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the vanilla.
First, cut in the butter, then work it through with your fingers, until it's well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 3-1/2dozen.


English Shortbread
English shortbread, increases the amount of flour, replaces the sugar, with confectioner's sugar, and adds a little baking powder. This creates a smoother, less grainy texture.

1cup softened butter
1/2cup confectioner's sugar
2cups flour
1/4tsp. baking powder
1/4tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 300*F.
Whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter, until creamy. Beat in the sugar. Add the flour mixture, and beat until well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 3-1/2dozen.



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