I am looking for the penultimate shortbread cookie recipe, and I am in a quandry due to two recipes I've found to be useful. I've been using the Barefoot Contessa recipe (butter, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla) to rave reviews, but I find that you have to roll it out and cut the shapes, then refrigerate them before baking or they spread too much. Also, the texture is somewhat large-pored and crunches sharply when you bite down. Just made the Mark Bittman recipe from the Sunday NYTimes, which specifies sugar, flour, salt, butter, but the addition of an egg yolk and cornstarch. The baked result was, to me, more of a "sand" cookie than a shortbread, but I can see how the cornstarch would lighten the texture and make the crunch gentler. Am almost ashamed to admit that Lorna Doones are my Proustian madeleine for shortbread, but those Scottish ones in the Tartan tins are rapidly becoming my replacement cookie when the urge strikes. That said, I still want a roll of unbaked shortbread to be there in the freezer for slicing and baking when necessary. Any Chowhounds out there have a foolproof shortbread recipe they depend on and are willing to share?
When it comes to shortbread, the simpler the better, IMO. My perfect shortbread is just butter, flour (AP) and sugar, rolled out after mixing and cut into shapes. The recipe contains 3/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups flour. The result isn't like Lorna Doone (which while tasty, isn't really like trad. shortbread, despite the package label), but a crisp, not hard, shortbread cookie.
For any shortbread recipe there is no reason why you couldn't roll it into a log and store in the refrigerator or freezer, to cut into slices at your convenience. Just ignore the rolling out instructions and instead roll into a cylinder using wax paper or parchment, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap for storage. Wrap in two layers of plastic wrap if the cookie dough will be frozen.
As a shortbread junkie, I have many interesting versions of the cookie, but this is my go-to basic recipe, which lets you either pat or roll the dough.
1 c butter, rm. temp.
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c cake flour, sifted
2 1/2 c all- purpose flour, sifted
Cream the butter with sugar. Mix in the flours. Pat or roll about 1/4" thick onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick all over with a fork. Score into squares or diamonds. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and cut through entirely. Remove onto wire racks to let cool completely. Store in airtight container.
I've always used just butter, flour and conf sugar.
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup conf sugar
2 cups flour
add and cream sugar
sift flour 3 times and gradually ad creaming after each addition.
chill, roll out and cut (1/3 to 1/2 " thick)
Bake 350 for 5 mion then 300 for 20-30.
Don't let them get real brown