The other day we took a stab at making homemade butter in the food processor. It was absolutely delicious.
So here I am with about a cup and a half of lovely fresh butter wondering how I should use it. I will say that probably the best way to really appreciate the nuances of fresh butter is just slathering it on some fresh bread. Perfection. But I wanted to choose a recipe that really celebrates butter, so I decided to make some Scottish shortbread.
Butter. Flour. Sugar. A little salt. Shortbread is as simple as a cookie can get and that is part of its charm.
I was a little worried about how the homemade butter would work in the shortbread. Because I squeezed out the buttermilk by hand, I wondered if I'd managed to get it all out, and if I hadn't, would the shortbread hold together? Would it turn into a wet bubbling mess in the pan? Fortunately, it worked out just fine.
The recipe I used is from the Joy of Cooking, the '97 version. This was one of the first cookbooks I was given after graduating from college, and it is still my go-to resource for most dishes.
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Joy of Cooking
Preheat the oven to 300.
Have ready an 8 x 8 baking pan. (I lined my pan with parchment paper because I know how delicate shortbread can be, and I didn't want to have any trouble getting them out of the pan. This may have been unnecessary.)
Beat on medium speed until fluffy and well blended:
10 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Gradually sift over the top while stirring:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Lightly knead until well blended and smooth. If the dough is too dry to hold together, sprinkle a few drops of water over it, adding only enough to hold the particles together and being careful not to overmoisten. Firmly press the dough into the pan to form a smooth, even layer. Pierce the dough deeply with a fork all over in a decorative pattern. Bake until the shortbread is faintly tinged with pale gold and just slightly darker at the edges, 40-50 minutes.
Remove the pan to a rack and let cool until barely warm. Cut almost through the dough to form bars. Let stand until completely cool. Retrace the cuts, and separate into bars.