Fragrant with the freshest and creamiest butter available, true Scotch shortbread cookies have a simplicity and charm that is the result of almost perfect ingredients.
Many shortbread cooks substitute rice flour or cornstarch for a portion of the self-rising flour. In this recipe, about 1/3 cup of rice flour, which does not develop gluten, results in a cookie even more crumbly and deliciously tender than expected.
* 2 cups sifted self-rising flour
* 1 cup unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup sugar.
Very often 1/2 cup of pecans is included. This is an optional but very nice addition.
Position rack in center of the oven. Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Have ready two 9 x 5-inch cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper.
Blend butter into the flour, using either your fingers or a pastry blender. When reduced nicely to small particles, stir in sugar with a wooden spoon.
Knead dough on a floured surface; it will be very soft. Divide in half and press into two 9 x 5-inch cookie sheets. Bake at 300-degrees for about 20 minutes, until set but not browned.
Cool your cookies completely, store in a covered tin overnight. This will cause them to “mellow” a bit and improve their texture. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar.
This is a special treat during the holiday season that is easily done and represents an addition to your cookie assortment along with the more simple shortbreads:
DATE AND WALNUT SHORTBREAD SANDWICH FILLING
* 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 cup chopped dates
* 2 tbsp lemon juice
* 1 tbsp brown sugar
* 1/4 cup dark rum
Cook over hot water to spreading consistency. Cool and spread on one shortbread layer, top with the other and cut into small squares. If you find your cookies don’t cut easily, reheat slightly and very carefully. Then, cut and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar. This makes about 15 squares, but you may double the recipe successfully.
These chocolate shortbreads are a quick version of the classic cookies that are satisfying additions to a cookie assortment or a special treat to fill the cookie jar.
Beat on medium speed until well mixed and fluffy:
* 2 sticks unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup superfine sugar
Melt in microwave just until liquid; stir until mixed and set aside.
* 2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Sift over top of butter mixture:
* 2 cups all-purpose flour, add melted chocolate, and stir until well mixed.
Press dough into a parchment-lined baking pan to form a smooth layer. Bake until top is firm when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Remove pan to a rack and cool until barely warm, then cut into bars and allow them to cool completely.