Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Family Favorite: Our Shortbread Recipe

I'm on such a baking roll these days.

Three days ago it was Old Fashioned Rice Pudding.  Then two days ago,  I made a double batch of classic chocolate chip cookies.

I should know better than to double any recipes of cookies.  By the end of the process, I get bored and drifty.  Usually that means that I burn a batch or two, and that is exactly what happened.  Daughter Sarah, who considers herself our family's baking expert, was horrified when she saw the picture.

Another friend suggested I may have used dark brown sugar in some and light brown sugar in others.  Nah, I just wandered.

However, I'm not at all concerned that nobody will eat those substandard cookies.  Methinks they will disappear, no problem.

Yesterday then, I made some shortbread, a three ingredient recipe that was taught to me long ago by my very good friend Patti.  These are delicious, but I'll warn you, you must regulate your intake.  They are unbelievably delicious, but mark my words - I never said they are healthy.

Earlier on the day you will make your shortbread, take out 4 sticks of butter, yes 4, and allow them to get semi-soft.

Then when you are ready to make your shortbread, first you need to take a paper grocery bag (or parchment paper if you are fancy schmancy) and cut a single layer to fit down in your cookie sheet.  This will at least soak up about 1/57 of the grease.

Preheat your oven to 360 degrees.  No, that's not a typo.  That's 360 degrees.  I don't know why but that's what seems to work.

Into your largest mixing bowl put:

5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 semi-softened sticks of butter (don't cheap out and use margarine - it won't work)

Take any rings or wristwatches off, and using your hands, start mixing it all together.

Trust me, a mixer or a spoon will not do the trick.  You gotta just get in there and do it.

Also, you better hope your phone doesn't ring right about now, or your nose starts itching, or....

Keep going until the dough is thoroughly mixed and forms into a ball.

Now you are ready to start spreading the batter into the prepared cookie sheet.

Press the dough down and around with your fingertips until it fills the pan and is all the same thickness.

Even after you've done your best, it will still look somewhat lumpy and bumpy.  At this point I use my little Pampered Chef roller and roll it nice and smooth.  Before I bought this little pastry roller, I used to use the side of a smooth drinking glass and that worked fine too.

When it is fairly smooth, toss on your sprinkles.  I'm using red and green ones for Christmas.  

This is a great recipe to take to holiday gatherings or summer picnics.  It's always a hit, and you can change the look of it by simply using seasonal sprinkles.  I have pink and red ones for Valentines Day shortbread,  and red/white/blue sprinkles for the patriotic holidays.  

Gently press the sprinkles down into the dough.

There is one last trick I'll share with you, in order to fancy it up a bit.  Use a fork to crimp the edges.

Bake at 360 degrees for 25 minutes.  Watch it closely at the end.  The shortbread is done when the edges turn just a hint of brown.  

Remove from oven and cut into squares immediately, but allow it to fully cool in the pan before removing the squares from the pan.

Wow.  This shortbread is probably my favorite of all the Christmas cookies or other baked goods each holiday.  These heavenly little squares are certainly diet-wreckers, but hey, some things are just worth it.

I bet you can't eat just one....


  1. Looks so delicious... you will have to make another batch when we get there!