Friday, April 12, 2013

Scottish Shortbread

I had cookies for lunch, I am kind of embarrassed about that.
Yep, cookies.
Does it help that I had a large bag of raw veggies and a green apple?
No... probably not.
Well, at least it was balanced. Right? Well....

My Mom made me some shortbread at Christmas, and it was HEAVEN.
Buttery, crisp goodness, not too sweet.
When I asked her about the recipe, she made me guess the secret ingredient.
Yeah, I nailed it.  I knew it was corn starch.  It makes the cookie tender, but with all the buttery goodness.  I have to say, I really shouldn't make shortbread. 
I love it too much.  
Which I guess is why I hadn't tried this version myself until it reached out and really got my attention with my Mom's gift.
This recipe tastes just like the famous Walkers Shortbread. I lived in Scotland in the early 80's for a year, and YES, Walkers shortbread is as famous in Scotland as it is in the USA.

This is a very easy recipe to make, and turns out beautifully too.  Don't skimp on the dough kneading part, it makes a stronger cookie that won't crumble all over the place.  I used one of those thin cutting boards to mark my lines for cutting into "Walkers" like bars, but  you could easily use cookie cutters instead.  I used a large meat fork to make the pokey holes.  I think that it adds something to the allure, don't you.  Little holes are... well, wimpy little holes.

I was surprised that these cookies did seem to expand a bit bigger than I expected so be sure to leave at least 3/4" inch between each.  These cookies kept their crispness beautifully for many days afterwards.  Next time, I might try to dip these cookies in white, or dark chocolate.

Makes about 36-48 rich, yummy cookies
2 cups butter (I used salted butter... use what you like, but I think it needs a touch of salt)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Cream butter and brown sugar. Add 3 to 3 3/4 cups flour. Mix well.

Sprinkle board with the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes, adding enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Kneading it is the important part, it makes it tough enough to pick up and enjoy with crumbling all over you, but the corn starch keeps it tender.  Tough AND tender = Awesome.

Cut into 3x1 inch strips. I used my thin little cutting board as a guide when I cut it, but you can see it is not a perfect science, so you can do it any way you want, even cookie cutters.

Prick with fork (I used a big tinged meat fork) and place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

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