Friday, December 9, 2011

Scottish Shortbread- Classic and Easy!

The holiday season is my favorite time of year. Although, the days are very short, the lights on Christmas trees and fronts of houses brighten the darkness. There are many times that I'm standing in a hot kitchen in the summer, alone, while other are out enjoying the day. But this time of year, almost everyone does some baking. Do you try to add one new cookie every year or go back to all your tried and true recipes.

Here's a recipe for Scottish Shortbread from Baking Basics and Beyond that is very quick and easy. You can dress it up by drizzling it with melted chocolate or dipping the ends in chocolate. It's a great cookie to include in a package that is being mailed because it is sturdy and the rich butter keeps the flavor fresh.

Scottish Shortbread

 Shortbread is the most basic cookie—made only of flour, sugar, and butter. Traditionally, the dough was pressed into a circle and cut into wedges before baking, but I like to cut it into bars because they are smaller and easier to eat.

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen bars

                         4 cups all-purpose flour

                        1 cup powdered sugar

                        2 cups unsalted butter

 Garnish, if desired

                        2  ounces bittersweet or semisweet, chocolate

                        1 teaspoon solid vegetable shortening

Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in middle.

Beat flour, sugar, and butter in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer on Medium speed until crumbly and evenly mixed, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice.

Press dough, about 3/8 inch thick, into an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. The dough will not fill the whole pan. I usually press to fill the width and about 3/4 of the length. Cut into 3 x 1-inch bars, using a pizza wheel. Prick well with a fork.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown. Classic shortbread is very pale. While bars are still warm, cut again. After cutting, the bars can cool in pan on wire cooling rack.


Melt butter and chocolate in a medium bowl set over, not in, simmering water, or use a double boiler. Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over shortbread. When chocolate is set, remove the shortbread from pan.

Store loosely covered at room temperature. Do not refrigerate or the chocolate will loose its gloss.

Baking Basics and Beyond is now available in a second edition that includes color photos. It's a great gift for novice and experienced bakers.

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