Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Shortbread

The most important ingredient in shortbread is … the butter!! No surprise there, right? But seriously, buy the best you can afford. It does make a difference. This shortbread can be made in any form – shaped into cookies or pressed into a mold or fluted tart pan (with removable bottom). Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly. My mother let me borrow her gorgeous molds and although it’s hard to see the pattern in the picture, they are so very beautiful! And incredibly tasty; I had to bribe my neighbor to take the shortbread home as a form of self-defense. Otherwise I would have gorged myself and been found lying in a sugar coma on the floor, surrounded by crumbs and muttering incomprehensibly .

Holiday Shortbread
Adapted from cookie-recipe-club.com

¾ cup flour, sifted
¼ cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup room temperature unsalted butter, cubed (We tried a few brands, and found Kerrygold had the best flavor.)

Preheat your oven to 350˚.*

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly.

Sprinkle a board or your counter top lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the board and knead until it's smooth. Refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours or overnight.**

You should have approximately 8 ounces of dough. Divide the dough into four equal portions for large cookies or eight equal portions for small cookies and shape into rounds.

Place each round on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten them with the bottom of a glass to about 1/4 inch thickness. Prick with a fork. Bake at 350˚ for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cookies begin to brown slightly. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet.

* Alternatively, press into a greased mold (use baking spray with flour) or fluted tart pan and prick with a fork. We found the shortbread cooked best, when baked en masse, at 300˚ for 45 minutes.

** We did not chill the dough when baking in a mold. Simply knead and press dough into greased mold. If the dough sticks to you, run cold water over your hands for a minute.

This picture makes me think of Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece – it keeps making me giggle.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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