My dad loves shortbread. I tried making him some for Christmas one year. I think I was about 13. As I wasn’t one for planning (Who am I kidding, I’m still not…), I forgot to take the butter out of the fridge beforehand. Strike one. I also think I added too much flour. Strike two. Then I over-mixed it, which was kind of necessary as it’s difficult to cream butter and sugar when the butter is a little yellow brick. This resulted in a mixture that ended up looking the same after 90 minutes baking as it did going into the oven. It was kind of grey and chalky. Strike three. Not good. I vowed never to bake again.
Now, obviously I’ve gotten over this and have learned a thing or two about shortbread. First of all, the butter HAS to be room temperature. You can always put the dough back in the fridge to firm up, but you won’t be able to mix it without it being room temp. Next, it’s easier to use confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. And, thirdly, sift the flour and add it gradually. DON’T OVERMIX.
Here’s the basic ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar
1 small pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (I added this as I think it adds a nice flavour)
1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Cream the butter.
2. Add the sugar, flour, salt and vanilla.
3. Press into a round 8 inch cake pan. Crimp the sides with a fork. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden.
4. While still hot, score with a butter knife into 8 slices (like a pie). Let cool completely before removing from the pan. Cut along the score marks with a serrated knife. Nom.
Oh, and watch out for those Abominable Snowmen again. Those little bastards love shortbread!
And because I find these hilarious, here’s another Santa-Screaming Kid picture.