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Best shortbread cookie recipe needed

  • n

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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  1. 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.

    1. p
      peppermint pate

      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

        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

          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

            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

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

              1. re: iL Divo

                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

                  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

            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

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

          3. re: peppermint pate

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

            1. re: peppermint pate

              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

                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...

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

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

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Funwithfood

                    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

                  2. 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...

                    1. 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. 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...

                        1. 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_...

                          1. b

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

                            1. 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. 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. 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

                                    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...

                                  2. 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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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: MMRuth

                                              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

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