Scotch Shortbread

  • Makes: Approx. 30 (Depending on size)
  • Hands on Time: 30 min
  • Baking Time: 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted or unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter until light and fluffy (shouldn’t take more than a minute as you are not trying to whip air into the dough). Beat in the icing sugar just until combined.
  3. Gradually beat in the flour and mix until combined (about a minute, or so). Knead the dough briefly by hand to bring it all together. If your butter was very soft, you may want to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to firm up a bit. Otherwise, you can proceed with the cookies once you have kneaded the dough and it is smooth and easy to handle.
  4. Pat the dough into a disk and sprinkle lightly the top and bottom with flour. Place a piece of waxed paper on the work surface and dust lightly with flour; place the dough in the middle and cover with a second piece of waxed paper.
  5. Roll out the dough to a scant ½ inch thickness and cut out your cookies. I usually use cutters between 1 ½ inches to 3 inches. The shortbread are really rich and you don’t want them too big. You also want to cut as many cookies as possible from this first rolling of the dough as cookies from subsequent rollings are not quite as tender (but still perfectly acceptable).
  6. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared sheet and bake until the bottom edges are starting to turn a delicate golden brown colour (you can lift one up with a fork for a quick peek – see below), about 20 minutes. I usually do a first check for browning after 15 minutes just to be safe.
  7. When done, remove from the oven and cool on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Variation:

  • Divide the dough in half, and add two tablespoons of coloured sprinkles. Cut the dough into a square about ½ inch deep and smooth across the top. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Cut the dough into ½ inch cubes. Bake the cubes as in step 6 above.
  • Divide the dough in half and add 2 tbsp of finely grated orange zest. Also add 3 tbsp of finely chopped crystallized ginger.
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