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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tender Shortbread

Shortbread 7

Shortbread 8

Shortbread 3

Shortbread 1

When I saw the headlines -The Last Shortbread Recipe You'll Ever Need by The Cookbook Chronicles popping up in my follow list, I knew I had to check it out. When I saw the photos, I was sold!
Shortbread has always been one of my favourite English Tea items. I had my first shortbread finger that came in one of those scottish plaid packing many many years ago. I remember getting hooked to the buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture of this cookie. It was not a common item then, it was available, I believe only in fine supermarkets and priced more expensive than the usual biscuits and cookies. As the years go by, these became more accessible and Marks & Spencer has since been the place where I stop by when I crave for shortbread.

True to Lorna's promise, this is a super tender and crumbly recipe that simply melts in your mouth. The original recipe, published in Chicago Time Out calls out to start with butter softened to the consistency of whipped cream - rather unsual for a shortbread recipe - most of which starts out with cubed, firm butter. As a result , the dough was rather pasty (especially in the warm Singapore weather and could not be rolled.) I could have stuck it in the chiller to firm it up a little before laying it out in the pan but I did not. There was no way to cut or shape the dough prior to baking. Hence, I just followed the instructions and cut it after it was baked. Unfortunately, my shortbread didn't turn out pretty like Lorna's but it sure tasted out of this world. I can easily believe that this possibly the last shortbread recipe you will ever need. What I would do a little differently the next time, I would try to use cubed butter and see if I would have a better chance of shaping it more nicely.

Shortbread 4

Recipe ( replicated from Chicago Time Out)

510 g (about 39 tbsp, or 4¾ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to the consistency of whipped cream
1 tsp sea salt
140 g (about ¾ cup) granulated sugar, plus about ½ cup more for tops of cookies
510 g (about 4½ cups) all-purpose flour
150 g (about 1 cup, plus 1 tbsp) cornstarch

Method
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Generously butter a 15-by-10-inch sheet pan.
2. Combine the butter, salt and sugar in an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until the butter is very creamy, has lightened in color and increased in volume (four to six minutes). Stop the mixer.
3. Sift together the flour and cornstarch and add to the butter mixture. Mix just until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. (If any dry ingredients are still visible, mix by hand until just incorporated.)
4. Press the dough evenly into the sheet pan with your fingertips (it should fill the pan but not rise above the rim). Bake until medium golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack until just warm to the touch. Sprinkle the top with a generous and even layer of granulated sugar. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for one hour.
5. When cookies are thoroughly chilled, cut into small rectangles. Let cookies return to room temperature before serving

16 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

Simple yet delicious!

MaryMoh said...

Mmmm....my favourite. I love it with strawberry and whipped cream.....delicious.

Trissa said...

That looks meltingly tender and such wonderful pictures! Love the "props"!

Kitchen Corner said...

This remind me the English classic, Shortbread! It looks exactly the same with the one I had in the UK. I miss it so much. Beside, I like the very English style of serving plate, beautiful!

Tuty @Scentofspice said...

I like shortbread too. Whenever I made shortbread (here in the US), I have to add vanilla or some other flavoring since the butter isn't as flavorful as European butter :-(

I'll be back to explore more.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Grace, thank you for your kind words. I am not sure if my version looks exactly the same as the ones you've had in England...(I still don't have the chance to go there yet :() actually I am not quite happy with the appearance... I am going to try again.

Tuty : you are right! I had actually added Vanilla extract to this. It is much more flavourful.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ooh Shirley, this looks amazing! I am so going to make this now! Thankyou so much :D

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Lorraine... but I was going make yours! This is so funny! :D

tigerfish said...

That tableware is so elegant and classic-looking. Feels like English Tea Time now!

La Table De Nana said...

Shortbreads are one of my all time favorites..How prettily presented w/ your dishes and cutlery.So beautiful:)

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Shirley,
Your shortbread looks really crumbly and nice! Looking at the shortbreads that you have done, I just feel like making some too! Yours look so yummy! Your Victorian Style cockeries are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

something simple and nice!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

I tried making shortbread once... in my teens.
And when the dough was so unmoudable (the picutre in the recipe book shows the person pinching the sides to make a pretty shortbread, but mine was a lump of dough, shapeless, unshapable)..due to our hot hot weather. I never thought of chilling in back then. I never attempted this again, no matter how I love eating it. But now as I look at the amount of butter in it, I'll shudder.

diva said...

Mmmm I love a good shortbread, dipped in a milky cuppa tea. Love the way you've presented yours!

zenchef said...

Oh yum, i'm believe you when you say the taste is out of this world. I'm a sucker for great shortbread and you can be sure i'll be trying this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Memória said...

I've never eaten shortbread before. Yours looks so beautiful and light.

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