Shortbread Recipe

Traditional Shortbread is a simple recipe, and similar to making pie pastry - one of the more difficult recipes to make successfully. The key is in fresh ingredients, pure butter, confectioner/icing sugar and creaming.

3/4 cup flour, sifted
1/4 cup superfine sugar/icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, or 1 stick of butter, unsalted

Cream together the butter and sugar by first creaming the butter with your hand, hand blender, or food processor. Add sugar slowly. Let the creamed butter and sugar sit for 5 minutes. The sugar perforates the butter making it light and fluffy. Add the flour and pinch of salt, kneading the dough with your hands until the dough resembles coarse meal. Form a ball and wrap dough with parchment paper, or wax paper refrigerating for one hour, or overnight.

Pat the shortbread dough into an ungreased 9-inch square pan, or traditional shortbread mold. Pierce the dough every 2-inches with a fork. Bake the pan shortbread for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly browned, at 300 F. Cut into squares or bars while still warm. You may also prefer to form dough balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper if you prefer the cookie style. Bake cookies for approx. 30 minutes on 300 F.

I roll cooled cookies and/or bars into parchment paper sprinkled with icing sugar. I will then dip half the cookie or bar into a chocolate concoction. Quite often, I will make shortbread bars with a ½ cup of chopped or ground pecans, adding one ½ teaspoon of vanilla to the basic recipe above. In this case, often I will substitute the icing/confectioner sugar for brown sugar; otherwise, I keep the icing sugar because there is something in it, which makes the shortbread lighter and fluffier, melting in your mouth. I also never use shortening, or margarine, because traditional shortbread is a simple recipe and consists of pure butter flavor, with less of a sugar flavor.
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