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Kerry Beal

Shortbread - Bake-off XV

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The holidays approach fast, and it's never too early to start planning for your holiday baking. Shortbread is one of the standard baked items that many of us associate with Christmas.

RecipeGullet has no less than 6 shortbread recipes, from lavender to green pea, and then there is the amazing malt shortbread made by mette in the eG Pastry and Baking Challenge number 3. I must confess that the shortbread I make year after year, the same one my mother always made, is simply butter, sugar and flour.

Do you make shortbread? Do you add flavours to it or do you think simple is better?

Don't hesitate to add your recipes to recipeGullet.

So let's hear it folks!

Edited to thank Alanamoana for the suggestion.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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Some may think it's heresy, but I have a special fondness for whipped shortbread. I like its melt-in-your-mouth-ness, and it's especially yummy with coloured sugar sprinkles :smile:.

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I actually enjoy some of the variations on basic shortbread with add-ins (nuts, lavender, lemon, etc.), but IMHO, that's not really shortbread. Real shortbread is the plain, unadulterated flour/sugar/butter/pinch of salt recipe, and nothing more.

This is my recipe, adapted slightly from a cookbook I got in Scotland many years ago. The rice flour gives it a lovely, crumbly texture.

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

1/2 cup flour, sifted

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

Combine flours, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Work in butter until dough has the consistency of shortcrust. Sprinkle board with rice flour. Turn dough onto board and knead until smooth. Divide into four portions and shape into small rounds. Place on greaseproof paper in a baking tin. Prick with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until cakes begin to brown slightly. Allow to cool in tin.

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My family's shortbread is butter, sugar, and flour. The butter is kept cold and it's mixed like pastry dough, then pressed into a pan. It comes out wonderfully flaky and crumbly and rich.

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Do you make shortbread?  Do you add flavours to it or do you think simple is better?

I like simple shortbread to munch on but I do a variety of non-traditional types for use with desserts (brown butter, peanut butter, cornmeal, etc). I'll have to see what I can come up with, this sounds fun.

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Do you make shortbread?  Do you add flavours to it or do you think simple is better?

I like simple shortbread to munch on but I do a variety of non-traditional types for use with desserts (brown butter, peanut butter, cornmeal, etc). I'll have to see what I can come up with, this sounds fun.

I think I'd make sick with brown butter shortbread. I can't think of many pure flavors that are more seductive.

Against my (much) better judgement, can you point me to a recipe? :wacko:

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Long tradition of shortbread in my family. My grandmother had Scottish blood, and she made a round of shortbread for each of us kids every Christmas. Amazing bounty, a whole dessert to yourself!

I like shortbread in all its guises, particularly flavored shortbread. A favorite of mine has tiny chocolate chips in it . . .

I'll need to try the malt shortbread recipe -- I love malt and just bought a new bag of it . . .

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I made shortbread last Christmas for the first time in my life. I did some with superfine sugar, brown sugar and even one with confectioner's sugar. All were hits and delicious. I even dipped some in chocolate, sprinkled some with colored sugars, added lemon (zest and juice) and added nuts to others.

I need to find my recipes and post them.

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My shortbread is butter, sugar, flour, and a touch of vanilla. When at room temperature it is soft enough for a cookie press, when cold it is firm enough to press into a pan or can be scooped like a drop cookie.

It's very easy -

1 part sugar

2 parts butter

4 parts flour

1 teaspoon vanilla per cup of sugar

Bake at 350 for 12-15 min.

Theresa :biggrin:

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My two favorite recipes are the Hungarian version in Julia Child's book and Amernick's Peanut Butter shortbread. Both are great.

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I made a bunch of different cookies for friends for Christmas last year, and my brown sugar short bread got the most compliments. I have made recipes with all kinds of add-ins and had planned on doing lemon zest or candied ginger with these, but just ran out of time to get to the store before I had to bake. I also don't really use a recipe, but a loose formula like tmriga's above. It's about the same, but I generally don't add vanilla and do add a little salt. I used about 2 parts brown sugar and one part white for this batch last year.

Plus, I like shortbread because you can make it so pretty. I have a couple of shortbread round forms that are great, but have also just spread it out on a cookie sheet and decorated/scored it to suit the occasion. Once I made a baby quilt for a shower. Just scallopped the edges and used the score marks to make the patches. Decorated with different colors of sugar, it was adorable.

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Does anyone have any tips for using the stoneware shortbread pans? I've used them with mixed results, the shortbread doesn't seem to fully bake for me in them. I was expecting it to come out more like a sable cookie but that wasn't what was happening at all.

thanks,

Michelle

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I think I'd make sick with brown butter shortbread. I can't think of many pure flavors that are more seductive.

Against my (much) better judgement, can you point me to a recipe?  :wacko:

It's actually as simple as replacing the butter in your favorite recipe. Make brown butter, chill it and proceed business as usual. I also replace the white sugar with sucanat (brown sugar would work too), don't add vanilla (not that it would hurt, just my preference) and up the salt a bit when I do the brown butter version.

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  Real shortbread is the plain, unadulterated flour/sugar/butter/pinch of salt recipe, and nothing more.

Hear! Hear! :smile:

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Does anyone have any tips for using the stoneware shortbread pans? I've used them with mixed results, the shortbread doesn't seem to fully bake for me in them. I was expecting it to come out more like a sable cookie but that wasn't what was happening at all.

thanks,

Michelle

Just bringing this back, one, because it's that time of year and two, I also need tips on using a shortbread mould. I made my traditional flour, sugar, butter recipe, rolled it into a rough 9" circle and pressed it in. Didn't work so well as not all of the pattern showed. Is it better to just dump the mixture before forming a ball while it's still crumbly and then press it in? Any tips?


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

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Does this bake-off extend to more biscuity type sablés? I think these are great fun:

sables.JPG

Pâte sablée :

Vanilla

- 1500g flour

- 1000g butter

- 500g icing sugar

- 5g salt

- 60g egg white

- Vanilla to taste

Chocolate

As above but with 100g cocoa powder instead of the vanilla.

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I love sables, I make some every year. I love shortbread, like the rest of you I usually do flour, sugar, butter pressed into a pan. The last batch I made took sour cream. I got the recipe in a tea book I bought. It was tangy, thick the texture was ok, but it was a bit too tangy. Not my classic that I love so much. I have a recipe for brown sugar out of this months Cooks Illustrated that I want to try. I will try to post up a picture when it is done.

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