How to Make Perfect Shortbread
There are as many recipes for shortbread as sand on the seashore. While it is particularly associated with bringing in the New Year it is certainly popular in Scotland throughout the year.
Helpful Hints From Brown Bag Designs
Shortbread is so easy to make, and so utterly delicious. The simplicity of the butter, sugar, flour recipe can’t, in my opinion, be beat. To make yours come out perfectly every time, there are just a few simple directives to follow:
♦ Bake the shortbread in the lower third of your oven.
♦ To make sure that your shortbread releases from the pan cleanly, be sure it is completely cooked in the middle before you remove the pan from the oven.
♦ Directions for shortbread baked on a cookie sheet often tell you to cook the shortbread only until the top of the cookies just barely begin to color. This is not the case with shortbread made in one of the Brown Bag Cookie Art Shortbread Pans.
♦ Since you will be cooking your shortbread in the lower third of the oven, you will get some top browning as the cookie bakes. The surface of the shortbread should be a toasty light brown when it is cooked. It should never appear raw or slightly opaque in the middle. If it is under-baked in the middle, it will probably stick in the pan when you go to unmold it.
♦ Be sure to let the shortbread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before you flip the pan over to unmold it. This gives the delicate cookie a chance to firm up a bit. After cooling for 10 minutes, hold the pan parallel to and 1” above a wooden or plastic cutting board, face down, and unceremoniously drop it. This jars the shortbread, and it drops right out of the pan.
♦ Slice the shortbread into serving pieces using a thin, sharp knife, while it is still hot. If you wait until it cools, it will become flakey and too fragile to cut cleanly.
Shortbread Traditional Scottish Recipe
6 oz Plain flour
4 oz Soft butter
2 oz caster (granulated) sugar
1 oz cornflour (cornstarch)
Mix the butter and sugar together (preferably with a wooden spoon) until it is pale and creamy. Sieve both the flour and the cornflour into the bowl and mix well. Put a small amount of flour on your working surface and place the dough on this. Shake a little flour on top and roll out about quarter inch thick. Prick with a fork and cut into rounds with a cutter or, if you want one large shortbread round, pinch the edges with thumb and finger all round, or place in a mold to take its shape then remove.
Use a palette knife to lift the shortbread onto an oiled baking tray and bake for 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 325°F/170°C/Gas Mark 3. If the biscuits are ready, they will be pale brown and crisp; if not, return to the oven for 5 or 10 minutes. Shake a small amount of caster/granulated sugar on the top of the shortbread immediately after they have been removed from the oven. Use a palette knife to move them to a cooling rack and store in an airtight tin once they are cold.