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Best shortbread cookie recipe needed

Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 09:20 AM

Ok, so I make them every year. But I'd like to know if there's one fabulous recipe you'd recommend. It could be a variation - doesn't have to be the purist version. Thanks.

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    Candy RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 09:29 AM

    I really love the gingered shortbread at Epicurious. Instead of baking it their way in a springform pan I roll it out rther thickly and at Christmas cut out stars. After it is baked i drizzle it with bittersweet Scharffen Berger chocolate.

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      peppermint pate RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 09:39 AM

      I just decided that I'm going to bake up a big batch of shortbread cookies this week-end to bring to a few "drop-in" gatherings I'm going to over the next few days. I found what looks like a good recipe from a cookbook I love called "In the Sweet Kitchen" - it's Scottish shortbread that you divide into 3 batches/variations - one plain, one with espresso and dark chocolate and the other with white chocolate and candied ginger.

      Caveat - I've never baked shortbread before (any tips?) and I've never made this recipe but everything else I've made from this cookbook is great.

      If you're interested, let me know and I'll post in a copyright-friendly way.

      11 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate
        Candy RE: peppermint pate Dec 14, 2005 10:28 AM

        Really good shortbread uses some rice flour in it to get that fine grain. Bob's Red Mill is the brand I use. If a Shortbread recipe calls for 2 C. flour I replace 1/2 C. of the flour with the rice flour. Use the best real unsalted butter, not margerine, that you can. Bake until it just begins to take on a little color

        1. re: Candy
          peppermint pate RE: Candy Dec 14, 2005 03:00 PM

          Wow - you and the cookbook author are on the same page. This recipe calls for 3 cups a.p. flour and 1 cup of rice flour which she says is an old Scottish trick to "yield a very tender crumb". She also advises to use the best quality unsalted butter, not previously frozen, and very fresh flour. Can't wait to try them. Cheers.

          1. re: peppermint pate
            MsMaryMc RE: peppermint pate May 31, 2008 08:52 PM

            I got this recipe out of a little cookbook I bought in Scotland about thirty years ago. It uses rice flour. It's some of the best shortbread I've ever tasted.


            1. re: MsMaryMc
              iL Divo RE: MsMaryMc May 31, 2008 09:14 PM

              gotta find out where to obtain rice flour. dont remember ever seeing it

              1. re: iL Divo
                MsMaryMc RE: iL Divo Jun 1, 2008 12:17 AM

                I've found it in a lot of supermarkets. If they have a section on the baking products aisle with specialty flours, you're likely to find it there. Bob's Red Mill makes it, among others--if your local market sells their products, they may have that one.

                1. re: MsMaryMc
                  iL Divo RE: MsMaryMc Jun 1, 2008 08:38 AM

                  just remembered that maybe my local Orowheat bakery outlet center would have it. they have multiple kinds of odd things like that in there, like graham flour and rye flour, so maybe I'd get lucky there, thanks.

          2. re: Candy
            Funwithfood RE: Candy Dec 14, 2005 03:43 PM

            I once made a British shortbread recipe which called for using some cornstarch (for the same reason, I suppose). They were very good/tender.

            Has anyone tried both versions (cornstarch, rice flour) and can describe the difference in texture?

            1. re: Funwithfood
              iL Divo RE: Funwithfood Feb 15, 2013 03:02 PM

              too much cornstarch subbed out for flour, way too crispy.
              a small amount is a nice tender cookie.

          3. re: peppermint pate
            Susan Hope RE: peppermint pate Dec 14, 2005 01:51 PM

            I've used that cookbook before with great success, but I've never made the shortbread cookies. Good luck!

            1. re: peppermint pate
              Snackish RE: peppermint pate Dec 14, 2005 08:59 PM

              Yes, the rice flour is a good trick. My traditional shortbread recipe is simple 4:2:1 ratio of flour, butter, sugar. 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar. Keep your kitchen cold - this is why shortbread is a winter treat - the whole point is to keep the butter bits as cold as possible. Only bake until a hint of tan appears.

              1. re: peppermint pate
                iL Divo RE: peppermint pate Jun 4, 2008 04:53 PM

                My tips are watch it close in the oven door cause it can go dark on you in a moment. Other tip, omit, in my not so humble opinion, the vanilla. Made it with vanilla today and by my standards, it toughens up the cook which is exactly what I wane away from.....Oh, and score your dough before it goes into the oven, I use a fancy butter ripple tool that leaves scalloped edges. If not, you run the risk of not being able to cut in to pieces later and it may puff up on you too due to the butter content...

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                HowardL RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 11:09 AM

                Look in the food section of today's New York Times

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                  Funwithfood RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 11:25 AM

                  I love shortbread with chopped rosemary inside (topped with a couple leaves as a garnish).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Funwithfood
                    iL Divo RE: Funwithfood Apr 3, 2008 06:09 PM

                    I found a rosemary poppy seed shortbread recipe a while back. I liked it a lot, my husband, not so much as he is the puritan in the family, wants it straight up only

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                    Terrie H. RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 04:23 PM

                    I love this recipe by Gale Gand I originally tried from the Baking with Julia cookbook. It has a different texture than Scottish style shortbread because of the grating method. Use your favorite special jam.

                    Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

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                      krissywats RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 05:19 PM

                      This is the 2nd place winner in the Chicago Tribune's 1996 Annual Holiday Cookie Contest It's the absolute best shortbread I've ever had. I like to use fresh made dark brown sugar (1 cup of sugar with 3-4 tablespoons of molasses smooshes into it). Always a huge hit:

                      4 c All-purpose flour
                      1 c Light brown sugar, packed
                      1 lb Unsalted butter; softened

                      1. Heat oven to 325'F. Beat all ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 4 minutes.

                      2. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out 1 piece of dough at a time on lightly floured surface to 1/16- to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out dough with cookie cutters.

                      3. Bake cookies on ungreased baking sheet until pale brown and
                      slightly firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Decorate as desired.

                      1. s
                        Susan RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 06:38 PM

                        If you like almond flavor, I have made these a few times and they are very good - made with almond paste.

                        Link: http://odense.com/recipes/orr.cfm?rec...

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                          Tracy L. RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 09:34 PM

                          I tried Martin Yan's Twin Ginger Shortbread earlier this fall. I thought they were really good. The recipe calls for candied walnuts but I used toasted. walnuts and it turned out great.

                          Link: http://www.aarpmagazine.org/food/web_...

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                            BabyLitigator RE: Nyleve Dec 14, 2005 10:04 PM

                            I'm partial to the one from the old New York Times Cookbook. One of the first cookie recipes I learned.

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                              Nyleve RE: Nyleve Dec 16, 2005 10:32 AM

                              I am such a twirp. I ended up making - yes - the same old shortbread cookies I always make. I avoided all variations - no nuts, no lemon, no nothing - but dipped the cookies halfway in melted chocolate. I must admit, they are unbelievably good. (Recipe follows.) I discovered a trick for giving the cookies a very sharp edge: cut them with a sharp cutter, place them on the prepared baking sheet and, before baking, refrigerate for at 10 to 15 minutes or until very firm (I put them outside on top of the barbecue -it was a very cold day).

                              My Good Old Shortbread Cookies

                              1 cup unsalted butter (I used a cultured butter)
                              1/2 cup icing sugar
                              2 cups flour
                              1 tsp. vanilla
                              pinch of salt

                              In a large bowl with an electric mixerbeat together the butter and the icing sugar until well blended. Add the flour, vanilla and salt and blend into a smooth dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

                              On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick (work with only 1/2 of the dough at a time). Cut with a cutter into shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325o F for about 25 minutes or until turning just slightly golden.

                              (You can also form the dough into cookies by rolling them into balls by hand and stamping them flat with a floured cookie stamp or bottom of a glass)

                              Makes about 2-1/2 to 3 dozen shortbread cookies.

                              (This does lend itself nicely to variations - grated lemon or orange zest, brown sugar instead of icing sugar and chopped pecans, bittersweet chocolate chunks.)

                              1. iL Divo RE: Nyleve Oct 18, 2007 12:14 PM

                                okay, I bite. Where does one get rice flour? Just at the normal grocery store or in some oriental store or a place like that?

                                1. k
                                  karykat RE: Nyleve Apr 3, 2008 07:18 PM

                                  Sometime try the spoon cookies at epicurious. They may not technically be shortbread but they have a shortbread-like texture, to me. They are made with browned butter and shaped with a spoon. The recipe suggests making them sandwich cookies with a filling but I just like to make them plain so there isn't a filling flavor complicating things and interfering with the great taste. They have a great flavor, the right blend of sweet/salty. And easy.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: karykat
                                    iL Divo RE: karykat May 29, 2008 01:05 PM

                                    I love a new suggestion. These look like they'll be something that are on my must do list. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

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                                    amy_nysd RE: Nyleve May 30, 2008 12:54 PM

                                    For a really classic shortbread with just a little something memorable, I use the basic recipe from the Gourmet cookbook. Lightly toast some thinly sliced almonds and chop finely, mix with a pinch of sea salt, and sprinkle on top just prior to baking the shortbread. The salt is key!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: amy_nysd
                                      iL Divo RE: amy_nysd May 30, 2008 01:09 PM

                                      I don't believe I have Gourmets cookbook among the gillions I do have. would you be willing to give a hint as to their recipe without compromising plagiarism? Like 1/2 cup powder sugar to their 3/4 cup of same thing? Is that awful to ask? Probably. I won't be in a book store for a long time otherwise, I'd just read it from there. Also, I do have an email address if I could get it out of you. Husband favorite cookie is by far Scottish Shortbread cookies.

                                      1. re: iL Divo
                                        amy_nysd RE: iL Divo May 30, 2008 01:49 PM

                                        The base recipe calls for:
                                        1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
                                        1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
                                        1/2 teaspoon vanilla
                                        1/8 teaspoon salt
                                        1 cup all-purpose flour

                                        Oven at 375, bake for 15 minutes...

                                        1. re: amy_nysd
                                          iL Divo RE: amy_nysd May 31, 2008 03:55 PM

                                          that is basic thank you so much for helping me out there. I can make my own superfine sugar right? just put it in the Cuisinart and whirl away?
                                          I noticed some recipes call for powdered/confectioner sugar, I think it has to do with the corn starch in there causing more tenderness, a shorter crust?

                                          1. re: iL Divo
                                            MMRuth RE: iL Divo May 31, 2008 05:36 PM

                                            Yes w/r/t the superfine sugar.

                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                              iL Divo RE: MMRuth Feb 15, 2013 03:40 PM

                                              I leave for work soon, a couple hours, so am making this for hubby now to enjoy while he is home alone for a while so he can munch

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                                      pcheflbc RE: Nyleve Dec 10, 2008 09:15 AM

                                      I'd like to know if using brown sugar is better than white sugar for shortbreads and why?

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