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On 4/1/2019 at 4:01 AM, kriirk said:

My first post! I would like to contribute to this already amazing topic.

NYT's Melissa Clark's 'Fudgy' Shortbread

Original:
150g sugar
225g salted butter
250g flour

'Metric' version:
1.8dl (167g) sugar
250g (3dl) salted butter
5dl (278g) flour

This is how I make these;

With hand mixer, work sugar and room temperature butter until fluffy. Pour in all the flour, and 'fold' it in until just absorbed, then stop. I actually find a chop stick perfect for this. Spread in a pan and bake in center of oven 40-60min @ 140°C / 280°F. Let cool just a little, and cut into 'fingers'. I like to make the fingers small, due to how satiating this version is.

-Please note that the dough will look like there is too much butter, especially while in the oven. But they will still turn out amazing. They are everyone's new favorite, since I started making them a year ago.

-Please also note that low flour content means non-suitable for making 'rounds' - use for fingers and petticoat tails only.

 

Welcome @kriirk - looking forward to giving this a try. Any suggestions on how big a pan would be appropriate?

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On 4/2/2019 at 4:24 PM, Kerry Beal said:

Welcome @kriirk - looking forward to giving this a try. Any suggestions on how big a pan would be appropriate?

 

Thank you, Kerry! I feel my best result so far was using double portion size in a square 23cm (9inch?) dish. I must warn they were almost an inch thick, but having a bit more to chew into was so nice with the soft texture. Hmm I must also add a note that I prefer these served cold from the fridge. Makes the taste less buttery and more wholesome. I will try again to find the original post from a year ago and link that as well.

 

Update - for some reason I found the original article easily today, unlike some days ago. It is now linked in the recipe. I also added some info about pan size in there. I might make them this weekend and add pictures.

Edited by kriirk (log)
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  • 7 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Interested to see recipes with cornflour, here on the isle of Skye its always been added Semolina or ground rice.

 

115g butter, whip it till fluffy, beat in 55g of Caster sugar with a pinch of salt. Sift in 130g Plain flour and about 40g ground rice, fold all together. When making the biscuits don't roll out you will compress it too much, use your hands to pat down biscuit size rounds. Oven at 150C, cook depending on the shape you've used, if making fingers or a square will take longer. Always prick your dough, chill in fridge then in the oven till cooked but now brown, sprinkle caster sugar while still warm.

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On 12/4/2019 at 3:55 PM, SchiehallionHandmade said:

Interested to see recipes with cornflour, here on the isle of Skye its always been added Semolina or ground rice.

 

115g butter, whip it till fluffy, beat in 55g of Caster sugar with a pinch of salt. Sift in 130g Plain flour and about 40g ground rice, fold all together. When making the biscuits don't roll out you will compress it too much, use your hands to pat down biscuit size rounds. Oven at 150C, cook depending on the shape you've used, if making fingers or a square will take longer. Always prick your dough, chill in fridge then in the oven till cooked but now brown, sprinkle caster sugar while still warm.

I just made a batch of shortbread from a recipe given to me by an English friend, almost your formula but with Semolina in lieu of the ground rice.   Best shortbread I’ve ever had.....hands down.  

Edited by RobertM (log)
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Hello friends. As I can not take my daughter to visit with grandparents this x-mas, I need to step up my baking efforts!  Oh, and my obsession with shortbread has not waned. For example, since tasting a cake that had Parmesan in it a while back, I have been wanting to try Parmesan on shortbread! Maybe I can make a handful 'creative' variants and test them on unsuspecting guests ^-^ (I am certain I will return to making original shortbread afterwards though.) In case I shall require further inspiration, I have gathered a small list of places (list below) that seem to have numerous shortbread recipes. I very much enjoy browsing recipes on the internet - especially if there are pictures.

 

28
28
30
   
36
60
69
90
90
90
120
120
130
150
150
170
190
210
260
640
800
850

 

Edited by kriirk (log)
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Friends, this intrigues me..
Stephanie Jaworski (joyofbaking.com) has a radical tip, using frozen grated butter.
She insists it noticeably enhances texture. Unsure where this tip originates. Her bio says "Born in Nova Scotia to a British father I was brought up eating both Canadian and British food."
This is contrary to how I was taught to always mix sugar and butter thoroughly until fluffy, before adding flour.
I guess I will have to try and see what happens. Wish me luck.

Her recipe/method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tejo7q5Z9Vw

 

Edit 1 - Hmm.. I guess the frozen butter means it's water content is ice crystals, so not mixing with the flour. So the flour will be dry-toasted a bit more in the beginning.
Aha! Google gave me this: "Baking expert Dorie Greenspan uses roasted flour (toasted in an oven) for her shortbreads." from https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/inside-our-kitchen/article/how-and-why-to-toast-flour
Very interesting ideas. So one might take this even a step further..

 

Edit 2 - I believe I will try pre-toasting the flour instead.

 

Edit 3 - pre-toasting the flour was disastrous. Tasted like sand in the worst thinkable way.

Edited by kriirk (log)
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it's a common technique in baking biscuits, pie crusts ect. the grated butter comes to temp quickly once grated and will coat the flour -you shouldn't end up with any raw flour to toast. Sounds like this will give you a flakier cookie, which is not what I look for in a Shortbread but i'm sure it still will taste good.

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Hello 😄, I tested some tweaks for the 'fudgy' NYT recipe (see previous page) this year.
-even less flour (success)
-pre-toasted flour (big failure)
-more salt (success)
-lower temperature (success)

As a result, my recipe has now changed to:
1.8dl caster/superfine sugar
250g salted(1.1%) butter
4dl flour
1/2 tsp salt
Bake @ 110°C ~90 min.

The extra salt did great things for the flavor. Next time, I will experiment with even more salt. (IIRC, our Norwegian salted butter used to have 1.6% salt not long ago, so I was surprised it only has 1.1% now..)

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Briefly on the history of the shortbread recipe

 

British sugar import started ca. 1650. First published recipe for "short bread", based on web archives, is from the book Cookery and Pastry By Susanna MacIver, Edinburgh 1773:

To make Short-Bread.
Take a peck (=9.1 litres) of flour, and four pounds of butter English, or three pounds Scots, weight; put the butter on to come a-boil; make a hole in the flour, and pour the boiling butter in it; work the flour and butter a little while together; pour in a mutchkin of good yest amongst the paste; work it together, but not too much; divide the paste and roll it out oval; then cut it through the middle, and plait it at the ends; keep out a little of the flour to work out the bread; flour gray paper, and fire the bread on it: if you make it sweet, allow a pound (Scots or English?) of sugar to the peck of flour at least; if you want it very rich, put in citron, orange-peel, and almonds, and strew white carvy on the top; be sure to mix the sugar and fruit with the flour before you wet it; remember to prick it well on the top.

 

The recipes we see today tend to follow a sugar-butter-flour weight ratio of 1:2:4. It seems that this was established around 1850. Here from the book Cookery and domestic economy By Mrs. Mary Somerville, 1862 Glasgow:

Plain Shortbread (referred to as 'Scottish' in other books)
4oz castor sugar
8oz butter
16oz flour

Rice Shortbread
4oz castor sugar
8oz butter
8oz flour
8oz rice flour

Almond Shortbread
4oz castor sugar
8oz butter
12oz flour
1oz almonds (ground+flour)

 

I tried to find an early recipe that uses less flour. Here is the only one I was able to find, using a 2:3:4 weight ratio, from the magazine The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX, No. 995, January 21, 1899:

Shortbread.
Ingredients.—One pound of flour, three-quarters of a pound of butter, half a pound of castor sugar.
Method.—Rub six ounces of the butter into the flour and sugar, melt the rest and mix it in; work a little with the hands to form a dough; roll into two thick rounds and pinch them round the edge with the fingers to ornament them. Prick over the top with a fork or a biscuit pricker; put two or three large pieces of candied peel on each and bake about half an hour in a moderate oven.

(Interestingly, this method seems copied from Mrs. Somerville's 1862 Almond Shortbread recipe.)

Edited by kriirk (log)
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@kriirk, earlier in this thread, in your discussion of the NYT shortbread recipe, you stated that one should not make rounds from it:  "Please also note that low flour content means non-suitable for making 'rounds.'"

 

Can you explain why this is true?  I ask because I often make round cookies from shortbread and have had some difficulty with them and am always looking for a solution.

 

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

@kriirk, earlier in this thread, in your discussion of the NYT shortbread recipe, you stated that one should not make rounds from it:  "Please also note that low flour content means non-suitable for making 'rounds.'"

 

Can you explain why this is true?  I ask because I often make round cookies from shortbread and have had some difficulty with them and am always looking for a solution.

 

 

wonder if it has to do with the fact that it might be more delicate and too easily broken

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28 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

 

wonder if it has to do with the fact that it might be more delicate and too easily broken

 

I don't have that particular issue.  I make shortbread cookies as inclusions in chocolates.  They are about 3/4" in diameter.  It's difficult to explain, but the bottoms often come out with indentations; the tops are fine, the bottoms are almost lacy in appearance.  It doesn't happen with every one of them, and when I have leftovers (and the cook feels like a little shortbread reward), I cut the dough into larger pieces.  With those, the bottoms are perfect.  It has something to do with the size of the circle, but that makes no sense to me.  I have posted this issue before and have tried all the ideas presented, but nothing has worked.  They are fine in the filling and remain crunchy (as desired), but this is a persistent annoyance.

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35 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

I don't have that particular issue.  I make shortbread cookies as inclusions in chocolates.  They are about 3/4" in diameter.  It's difficult to explain, but the bottoms often come out with indentations; the tops are fine, the bottoms are almost lacy in appearance.  It doesn't happen with every one of them, and when I have leftovers (and the cook feels like a little shortbread reward), I cut the dough into larger pieces.  With those, the bottoms are perfect.  It has something to do with the size of the circle, but that makes no sense to me.  I have posted this issue before and have tried all the ideas presented, but nothing has worked.  They are fine in the filling and remain crunchy (as desired), but this is a persistent annoyance.

Perhaps being captain obvious - but could you put them in the mold bottom first so that the fine tops are the ones that face the backing off chocolate?

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

I don't have that particular issue.  I make shortbread cookies as inclusions in chocolates.  They are about 3/4" in diameter.  It's difficult to explain, but the bottoms often come out with indentations; the tops are fine, the bottoms are almost lacy in appearance.  It doesn't happen with every one of them, and when I have leftovers (and the cook feels like a little shortbread reward), I cut the dough into larger pieces.  With those, the bottoms are perfect.  It has something to do with the size of the circle, but that makes no sense to me.  I have posted this issue before and have tried all the ideas presented, but nothing has worked.  They are fine in the filling and remain crunchy (as desired), but this is a persistent annoyance.

 

i don't quite understand. is the problem you're having that the bottom comes out more like a lace cookie? does this mean you get something too crunchy? i can't find the problem (not saying there isn't one, i just do not see it). if that's the case i originally thought that it sounded like there might be too much sugar. the fact that you get it with the same dough but only on a smaller size, though, sounds to me like a heat issue.

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1 hour ago, Kerry Beal said:

Perhaps being captain obvious - but could you put them in the mold bottom first so that the fine tops are the ones that face the backing off chocolate?

 

These go into a dome, so the curved bottom wouldn't hold the cookie.  The appearance of the cookie doesn't really matter since it will be surrounded with gianduja (or a meltaway or chocolate); the issue is that it almost dissolves if it is too thin (and if it's too thick, it take up too much room in the cavity).

 

1 hour ago, jimb0 said:

 

i don't quite understand. is the problem you're having that the bottom comes out more like a lace cookie? does this mean you get something too crunchy? i can't find the problem (not saying there isn't one, i just do not see it). if that's the case i originally thought that it sounded like there might be too much sugar. the fact that you get it with the same dough but only on a smaller size, though, sounds to me like a heat issue.

 

Let me see if a photo makes it clearer:

 

cookie.thumb.jpg.21f6cce66bf818ec90258c18f58fd2f8.jpg

 

The crater at the left is the problem.  The cookie gets too thin at that point.  They work, but they could be better, and (I am discovering) if they are thicker, this issue doesn't happen as much.  But, as mentioned above, at that point they take up too much room.  Today I was making a "pecan pie" bonbon:  On the bottom, a thin layer of salted caramel, then some chopped toasted pecans, then pecan praline gianduja, then the cookie (it's pecan shortbread) pressed into the gianduja.  You can see that thick cookies present a problem.

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20 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

These go into a dome, so the curved bottom wouldn't hold the cookie.  The appearance of the cookie doesn't really matter since it will be surrounded with gianduja (or a meltaway or chocolate); the issue is that it almost dissolves if it is too thin (and if it's too thick, it take up too much room in the cavity).

 

 

Let me see if a photo makes it clearer:

 

cookie.thumb.jpg.21f6cce66bf818ec90258c18f58fd2f8.jpg

 

The crater at the left is the problem.  The cookie gets too thin at that point.  They work, but they could be better, and (I am discovering) if they are thicker, this issue doesn't happen as much.  But, as mentioned above, at that point they take up too much room.  Today I was making a "pecan pie" bonbon:  On the bottom, a thin layer of salted caramel, then some chopped toasted pecans, then pecan praline gianduja, then the cookie (it's pecan shortbread) pressed into the gianduja.  You can see that thick cookies present a problem.

Ah - pictured something much different with lots of little holes.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

350F, for about 15 minutes or until they brown slightly.

 

have you tried knocking a good 25 degrees off of the temperature, or maybe a couple of minutes of bake time? 

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@Jim D. Would it be worth blitzing them and reconstituting them (melted butter or cocoa butter, baked or unbaked) then rolling that out? I get the feeling you'd have more control, and it may have more structural integrity inside the bonbon.

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