Thick, lightly golden, melt in your mouth shortbread... and only a few simple steps to keep in mind.
The kitchen is filled with the wonderful scent of baking and batches and batches of the golden wedges cooling on every countertop. Shortbreads are the perennial Christmas cookie and so easy to bake. There are only five ingredients: butter, sugar, two types of flour and salt. This recipe will make a 9" round, cut into 16 wedges.
1 3/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (you could substitute cornstarch)
2/3 cup superfine sugar (also called berry sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (don't worry about the high heat, you will be baking the shortbread at 300 degrees). I used a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. You can also use a 9" round cake pan. If you use the cake pan, line the bottom with a round piece of ungreased parchment paper. For either pan, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix the flours, all but 1 tablespoon of sugar, and salt in the bowl of your electric mixer. Combine at low speed for about 5 seconds. Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch squares and toss with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture. Add the butter/flour mixture to the bowl. Mix at low speed for approximately 3 minutes- the dough should be pale yellow and resemble damp crumbs. Keep an eye- you don't want the dough to go past this stage if you want your shortbread to be tender.
|Light and fluffy dough|
Place a two inch metal cutter in the center of the dough and cut out the center. Place this piece to the side of the large round. Replace the cutter in the middle. It will help cook the shortbread evenly and conduct heat to the center of the dough.
|Score the shortbread after 20 minutes in the oven|
Return the pan to the oven for approximately 40 minutes longer. It should be pale golden... Slide the shortbread onto a cutting board, remove the cutter from the center and sprinkle the shortbread lightly with sugar. Cut at the score marks and place the pieces on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature for at least three hours or even overnight. Wrap and store at room temperature for up to 7 days.