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I'm making shortbread for the first time, and have seen recipes that mention rice flour or cornstarch as a texturizing ingredient. I'm just wondering, is there a difference if you use either?

skyflyer - I just recently tried a recipe with cornstarch and one without. The one with cornstarch was more "melt-in-your-mouth" and spread a bit. The one with only flour had a heavier texture but held it's shape better and would likely hold up better if dipped in tea or something. My testers preferred the recipe with only flour. Personaly I prefer the melt-in-your-mouth feel of the cornstarch one.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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This recipe is our favorite... it's from the hopefully soon to be restored recipeGullet. It's wonderful stuff.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Skillet Shortbread

Recipe By :

Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00

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Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

3/4 c melted butter

1 1/2 c sugar

1 1/2 c flour

2 beaten eggs

1 pinch salt

1 tsp almond extract

Mix butter and sugar til creamy; add aggs and mix well; add flour, salt and extract and mix well. Grease your standard cast-iron skillet and line completely with foil. Pour the stiff batter in and spread it to the sides. Sprinkle the top generously with slivered almonds and more sugar. Bake @ 350 30 mins. Cool completely before removing.

Notes: this is so easy it's addictive. I use the Kitchenaid and pretty much just dump in the ingredients in the proper order and let the machine do all the work. I recommend taking the pan out after 25 min. and checking that your oven isn't cooking too fast. The top of the cookies will brown only VERY slightly. You might think they aren't done and want to stick them back in for 5-10 minutes--DON'T. Becasue I was making them during a cold spell, I took the skillet out on the porch and let them cool overnight. Once completely cool they set and firm up. Cut them into thin slivers and serve them with coffee or tea or alongside another dessert like chocolate mousse.

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"recipeGullet"

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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The recipe I use is:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp vanilla

bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until just slightly golden brown around the edges

I find that chilling the dough beforehand helps with the spreading.

What - no sugar?

haha sorry! Where was my mind!

Here's the recipe again:

1 cup butter softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 and a 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla, beat in flour and cornstarch slowly. Into the fridge for an hour or two. Then slice and bake at 350 on a cookie sheet. I just made 2 more pans of shortbread today...so delicious!

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I'm tired and I can't think of the exact recipe right this second, BUT Claudia Fleming has a great vanilla shortbead cookie in her book. Theres nothing unusual about its ingredients but it tastes very rich and vanilla, different then other shortbread cookies that I make.

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Here's one I always make and it comes out fine, but it's not a cookie as such but made in a round cake pan--this stops the spreading and keeps it in shape, you then cut it into wedges while it's warm and leave it in the pan till t's completely cool.

Oven set at 325 deg F

Cream 1 c unsalted butter in a large bowl.

Combine and whisk together:

2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c sifted confectioner's sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and scoop it together into a ball using a flexible pastry scraper or stiff rubber spatula. Knead it just a bit and shape it quickly into a ball and press it into the bottom of a 9" round cake pan. If you have hot hands, use a spatula to press it so you don't melt the butter overmuch. Prick it all over with a fork (make a nice pattern as it will show when it's baked.

Bake for 25-30 min until it just starts to color on the edges. Cut into wedges while it still warm.

If you press it out into a larger rectangular baking pan, you can cut it into squares when it's baked, it will be thinner (takes less time to bake as well so watch it carefully--you don't want it to brown. )

It's not the destination, but the journey!
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  • 1 month later...

I just had a baking disaster. I was making a recipe from Claudia Fleming: Lemon-Poppyseed Shortbreads.

I made the dough as directed, chilled, rolled out and cut into shapes. Everything was great, the dough handled nicely. When they came out of the oven they had spread completely! I had a whole sheet pan of one giant shortbread puddle, with a kind of wrinkly surface!

Here are the ingredients:

2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, lemon zest

pinch salt

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tbl poppy seeds

They were baked at 300 degrees for 23-25 mins.

I am so disappointed. The dough was really tasty, so what went wrong?

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My first thought is that it might be a case of too much butter for the flour - roughly how much does 2 cups of flour weigh?

A good rule of thumb is half as much flour again to butter, by weight.

How cold was the dough when it went into the oven?

300F seems like it's on the low side for shortbread, too. Did the cooked dough have any colour?

You got the important bit right, of course, which is that it tasted superb. :smile:

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I know the problem, it has happened to me several times and is annoying. However,

I can't help much. My shortbreads always spread like crazy which is why I bake them in a pan or a shortbread baking mold.

When I did find a recipe that retained its shape during baking, I didn't like the mouthfeel - it had a "floury" texture, not the melt in the mouth that I like.

For shapes, I bake the shortbread in a sheet pan and use cutters to cut shapes as soon as it comes out of the oven, then let it cool a bit. When firm I transfer the cut shapes to a wire rack to cool completely. Doing it this way I have some waste scraps, but as I grind that up for pie crusts, I don't worry about it.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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When the dough cooled it almost leaked butter, so I think the proportions may be off. 2 cups of all purpose flour weighs about 8 1/2 ounces.

The dough was lightly chilled when it went into the oven. I agree 300 seems low.

I really want to make this work because the dough is so tasty. However, I tasted the thin speciman that resulted and while it still tasted good, it was thin greasy and chewy, not crumbly.

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very definitely off - the proportions I use are 1:2:3 of sugar:butter:flour.

In this case, the ratio of sugar to flour is reasonably right, so if you want to give it another go I'd suggest cutting the butter down to about 5 ounces.

If you don't want to rejig the recipe, try this one :

3oz sugar

6oz butter

9oz flour

then add your lemon and flavourings...

I'd go for about 400F too...

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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I just had a baking disaster. I was making a recipe from Claudia Fleming: Lemon-Poppyseed Shortbreads.

I made the dough as directed, chilled, rolled out and cut into shapes. Everything was great, the dough handled nicely. When they came out of the oven they had spread completely! I had a whole sheet pan of one giant shortbread puddle, with a kind of wrinkly surface!

Here are the ingredients:

2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, lemon zest

pinch salt

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tbl poppy seeds

They were baked at 300 degrees for 23-25 mins.

I am so disappointed. The dough was really tasty, so what went wrong?

You're really really light on the flour. 3-2-1 cookie dough in this case would be 12 oz flour, 8 oz butter, 4 oz sugar. I make a lot of this stuff and always use granulated sugar, but I use it for bar bases. I think it will be more tender with confectioner's.

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I have to agree with Culinary Bear. The proportions were definitely off and the oven should be hotter, around 400 degrees is what I do. Good luck with your next batch and let us know if it turns out.

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I want to thank everyone for the responses. I may not get to baking again until the weekend and I will let you know how it comes out.

However, I did some searching online, and all the recipes I looked at were very similar to the one I used:

1 cup flour, 1 stick butter, 1/4 cup sugar (or double) and baked at 325.

The pictures all looked like nice thick crumbly shortbread and didn't mention any spreading.

So how come these recipes proliferate and I had such a disaster with mine?

I want that thick crumbly (think Walker's) shortbread.

Shortbread conspiracy?

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I want to thank everyone for the responses. I may not get to baking again until the weekend and I will let you know how it comes out.

However, I did some searching online, and all the recipes I looked at were very similar to the one I used:

1 cup flour, 1 stick butter, 1/4 cup sugar (or double) and baked at 325.

The pictures all looked like nice thick crumbly shortbread and didn't mention any spreading.

So how come these recipes proliferate and I had such a disaster with mine?

I want that thick crumbly (think Walker's) shortbread.

Shortbread conspiracy?

A cup of flour weighs about 5 to 5.5 ounces. A stick of butter weighs 4 ounces and 1/4 cup sugar, if it's granulated, weighs about 1.75 oz. Notice the way in which people are recommending a 1-2-3 ratio for this type of dough. You need to use a scale to be more precise. This one should be more along the lines of 2 oz sugar, 4 oz butter, 6 oz flour. 1-2-3. By weight, not by cups and spoonsful. Get the weights correct and the cookies should come out better.

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I dont think your proportions are off. When that sort of thing happened to me it was with a recipe that called for melted butter. When i would overheat or heat it too quickly that it separated, it produced a radically different result than when done slowly and just to the proper point. Could you be overbeating your butter?

Also, I, too, like shortbread best that is baked in a shortbread mold. Comes out very light and flaky/crumbly.

For shapes, it needs to be cut right after baking. The cookie will spread out of its shape during baking. I find baking from a frozen or very chilled state also helps tame the spread. I have baked at higher and lower temps, and prefer a lower slower bake.

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Should you be beating your butter in the first place? Most shortbread recipes I've seen have been all-in-one methods.

Cooking from frozen, or at least chilled, does lessen the spread.

You could do what a lot of people do, which is to bake the shortbread in a large fairly shallow pan, so that there's no spread whatsoever, marking into squares when still hot from the oven, and then breaking into squares when cool and set.

Edited by culinary bear (log)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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A long standing favorite of mine is descended from a recipe in the classic Joy of Cooking . The finished product is thick, yet buttery and melt in your mouth. However, it is not for rolling and cutting; it is made in a pan. It is the closest I have had to the Walker style shortbread and could probably be worked into a closer version of that.

1 c. butter

2 c. sifted all purpose flour

1/2 c. sifted confectioners' sugar

1/4 t. salt

Cream the butter. Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter. Pat the dough into an ungreased 9X9" pan. (I usually even out with a dough scraper). Chill for 1 hr. Score dough into slices. Pierce with a fork every half inch. Bake at 325 for 25 -30 min. Sprinkle with fine sugar. Allow to sit for 10 min. Slice into pieces while still warm.

For my own liking I have changed this recipe to half all purpose flour/half pastry flour. I like the flake and tenderness it gives.

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my recipe calls for 2cups of flour, but I took a hint from 'the sweet kitchen' and replaced 1/2 cup of it with rice flour. It makes a real difference in the crumb, gives it that particular mouth feel that screams 'authentic' to me. I add finely chopped ginger to it to. Oh, this is good stuff. I also bake mine in a pan w/sides and turn out and cut while warm.

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  • 1 month later...

I have made this shortbread twice since I originally asked about this, and no spreading!

I found a little book in the library all about shortbread, and it also had the same proportions listed in my original recipe, with the same baking temp. Also, the proportions given in the recipe were almost exactly the same as the proportions culinary bear gave me. The book also noted traditional Scottish shortbread does include 1/2 cup rice flour (1/4 pt of the flour) and is baked in mold.

So I went back and made the same recipe again being more accurate with my measuring. I also baked the dough from frozen. The first time I baked it in mini tart pans in case there was spreading, but there wasn't! Even the nice little fork pricks remained. However, my only complaint was that the cookies had a slightly floury aftertaste, and not enough buttery crunch.

I baked the second batch slightly longer, so that they were barely beginning to brown, and these were much better! Nice lemony flavor and crunch. The next time I make them I make them I will try adding the rice flour, but the recipe is good as is!

For reference here's the proportions:

2 cups flour, pinch salt, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 sticks butter, 1 tbl lemon juice, lemon zest, drop of vanilla extract, 1 tbl poppy seeds

Bake from frozen. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25-30 mins.

Thanks for the help everyone!

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Glad to hear that your shortbread is successful!

The book also noted traditional Scottish shortbread does include 1/2 cup rice flour (1/4 pt of the flour) and is baked in mold.

I like my shortbread to have more texture. Instead of the rice flour, I either grind my own rice (not too fine) or I add some semolina (sugee).

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Glad to hear that your shortbread is successful!
The book also noted traditional Scottish shortbread does include 1/2 cup rice flour (1/4 pt of the flour) and is baked in mold.

I like my shortbread to have more texture. Instead of the rice flour, I either grind my own rice (not too fine) or I add some semolina (sugee).

That would be interesting with a different rice, say jasamine. Especially since I put the candied ginger in mine. Is there a trick to grinding your own rice flour? Is it too much for a food processor? I do have a grain attachment for my ka. Do I need to use that? Thanks.

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If I need only half a handful of rice, I use the mortar and pestle; the dry grinder for more. Don't overgrind...you don't want it too fine.

I love crystallised ginger in my shortbread too! :smile:

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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  • 1 year later...

Yes

Assuming of course you are talking about a straight up mixture of flour, perhaps cornstarch or rice flour, sugar and butter.

Just thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, shape and bake. Or shape, freeze and bake from frozen. Or bake them and freeze them so you can eat them one by one out of the freezer and have none left for Christmas and have to start all over again....ummmm....never mind. Forget I said that. :smile:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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