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.
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.