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Shortbread cookie help please

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I have attemped 3 (yes, 3!) different shortbread cookie recipes and multiple variations in the last 2 days. Each time the entire batch ends up in the trash. The cookies spread horribly and turned out very very greasy. After the first batch came out of the oven this way, I tried chilling the dough prior to baking. Same result. I then tried to add more flour. Then I tried to replace part of the butter with shortening (I know, not ideal but thought it would help) Lastly, I tried baking on parchment paper rather than the silpat I had been using. Each time I got the same result. At this point, I should probably just give up but it is driving me crazy that I can't figure this out. I know all of you awesome bakers will have some ideas for me.

Please share all of your thoughts and ideas! Thanks in advance.

One more thing I forgot to mention... I also tried baking at both higher and lower temps with no change.

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  1. what's your recipe and proportions? I use 8oz butter with 6oz sugar and 12oz flour. make sure the butter is soft but NOT melted, rub all the ingredients together till it first looks like breadcrumbs then forms into a crumby ball. Do not add water. press into a greased cookie tray with sides, score the finger shapes, prick with a fork and bake at 350F for about 25 mins. Sprinkle with sugar when cool.

    1. The latest recipe I used called for 2 cups of butter, 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of flour. Mixed butter and sugar together and gently added in flour careful not to overwork. Baked at 350F

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ashley5260

        Your proportions are all off and your oven is too hot.

        For four cups of flour, use 1/2 cup sugar and 1.5 cups butter. Even better, cut these measures in half before making the shortbread so if the batch fails you won't be wasting so much of your ingredients. And be sure to use all-purpose flour, not self-rising.

        Cream the butter and sugar together first, the mix in the flour. The dough will seem very dry, add a bit more butter if necessary. Roll out the dough 1/2 in thick, cut into shapes, prick tops with a fork, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 1/2 hour on the middle shelf of the oven preheated to 300 degrees F. If the first batch is dark on the bottom your oven is too hot, reduce heat to 275 if necessary.

      2. Try this recipe. I grew up on this and it's incredible. Try using different brands of butter too -- something with a relatively low butterfat content might help avoid the spreading. (Wouldn't hurt to try this recipe with Anchor brand from NZ as it's an NZ recipe.)

        http://lifeboat.co.nz/shortbread/

        1. I totally have been on a shortbread kick lately and understand your pain. I've found two recipes that I use, and kinda mix match the flavorings. I also roll into a log, freeze for about 20 minutes, and slice (then bake). I wonder if you're cooking a bit too long - I know that happens with other cookies of mine.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/14/din...
          http://www.angryasiancreations.com/20...

          My favorite so far are just plain rosemary and lavender. Hope you have better success soon!

          3 Replies
          1. re: mickeygee

            I would certainly try Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipes.

            There are several on the web and she
            has a video on You Tube "Scottish Shortbread".

            All Rose's recipes are thoroughly tested!
            I have yet to find anything of her's which flopped.

            1. re: Mistral

              I certainly appreciate all of your suggestions so far. I will give them a try tonight and will cross my fingers.

              I welcome any additional tips/tricks people may be able to provide!

              1. re: Ashley5260

                Success! Thanks to Jannie's proportions and realizing my oven was running 50-75 degrees hotter than the input temp. Thanks for eveyone's help.