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.
Recipe ( replicated from Chicago Time Out)
510 g (about 39 tbsp, or 4¾ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to the consistency of whipped cream1 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
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