Friday, March 18, 2011

Scottish Shortbread

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.

:: :: :: :: ::

Scottish Shortbread
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.


  1. I'm a huge shortbread fan! Totally trying this.

  2. I, too, love shortbread! And I have this cookbook. Yum!

  3. yummm strawberries & shortcake cookies. they look delicious!

  4. Thank you...easy recipe! I made mine with white whole wheat flour (hard white spring wheat) and used the KitchenAid stand mixer for ALL of the mixing...worked great!

  5. I am going right to my kitchen to try these, I'm a real fan of scottish shortbread but was not satisfied with the recipe I tried a few months ago. Thanks for this !

  6. Correction? I think it's it's 1 1/2 tsp salt not more sugar.

    1. I just double-checked and the recipe is correct: it is 1 1/2 tbs sugar along with the 1/4 cup powdered sugar.


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