Sunday, December 7, 2008

My First Try at Shortbread

Aside from bread, I'm not much of a baker. I was tickled to death today with this plain Scottish shortbread I made!

I used the tried and true recipe in The Joy of Cooking, and followed the suggestion of replacing a portion of the flour with cornstarch to give the cookie a little extra special crumble. What a good suggestion--the first bite is crispy and buttery and crumbly, then as you chew it all kind of melts in your mouth. Seriously, this is dangerously delicious.

It is really an easy recipe. Take 10 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of regular sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat them together until well incorporated and fluffy. Take 1/3 cup of cornstarch and dump it into a bigger measuring cup, like a one-cup or two-cup size. Fill the bigger measuring cup the rest of the way with all purpose flour until it gets to 1 1/2 cups all together. Then get your boyfriend to stir (don't worry, I won't tell your husband) as you gradually sift the flour/cornstarch into the buttah. It will get really doughy, and it should, because you then knead it gently until it's fairly smooth and cohesive. You may add a very small amount of water if the dough won't come together.

Press the dough into an 8X8 pan and make it as smooth and even as possible. Pierce the dough liberally with a fork and bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. The shortbread should be "tinged with a pale golden color and only slightly darker at the edges." Mine took 45 minues, and it smelled gorgeous when it was baking.



When they come out of the oven, gently cut almost all the way through into little finger squares. When it's cooled, cut it the rest of the way and separate the little bars. I kind of liked the slightly imperfect sizes. They looked sweet and homey.

9 comments:

pnlkotula said...

Hold the phone - I'll be right there!!! MMMMmmmmm...

Robyn O'Neill said...

That sounded really easy. Do you think I could do it in the toaster oven?

p.s. I'll make a greater effort to get to rehearsal tonight if you promise to bring me some. Or is it all gone already?

Jacquie said...

I have this image of Ginnie & Robyn cooking in one of those Betty Crocker Easy Bake ovens we used to have as kids...you know with the 100 watt light bulbs that burned the crap out of your hands when you reached in to get whatever uncooked thing you were attempting to make.

Anonymous said...

Oh Sure, the ONE thing I bake well and "office spouse" out does it. Next thing you know she will be bringing in better Chex Mix. They were (note "were" the 2 I had are long gone). Mine are still pretty good. Baked individually and thinner an no regular sugar and,... Well, I can't give all of my secrets away. Back to the kitchen. Oh and Robyn, I'm bettin' the Toaster Over will do just fine.
Eric

Janine Serresseque said...

Now Robyn, you can't ever buy a stove because it makes me laugh too hard that you don't have one. How can you have an iPhone but not an oven?

Jacquie, very funny! I loved all those dangerous toys of our youth! The commercials made them look so fun. Who knew you could lose digits in them?

Janine Serresseque said...

Eric Dear, I am so sorry for trampling on your culinary prowess. You are and always will be the King of Shortbread, Chex Mix and Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.

Robyn O'Neill said...

I never had an EasyBake Oven :(

Janine Serresseque said...

Robyn, that's probably why you have grown up to be a culinary retard. You were not properly trained on the Easy Bake Oven in your formative years.

Alex said...

Felix was quite perplexed and yet amused when we were looking for my boyfriend to stir last night.