Shortbread success at last

Today I made shortbread without burning it!  It was only a bit damaged when I loosened it from the pan with a knife.

Shortbread success at last!

Shortbread!

Shortbread!

It’s a good thing, too, because lately I have been wondering if being half-Scottish means I’m literally only half Scottish, like a hermaphrodite (in which case, which of my arms is Scottish?  Which of my legs?  etc.) or if Scottishness is sufficiently pungent to permeate my being even though it only came from one parent.

Since the final success of the shortbread, I’m leaning more towards the permeating-my-being theory.

The thistle design didn’t come out that crisply detailed, but I suspect this is because I put corn meal in to add texture and it made those coarse holes.  With rice flour I bet it would take the design better, but rice flour is hard to get here while corn meal couldn’t be easier.

Here’s my Shortbread recipe:

  • 150 grams butter, room temperature (I hacked off slightly more than half of a 250 gram brick)
  • 100 grams caster sugar (I used American measuring cups – 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 50 grams ( 1/4 cup) corn meal or rice flour
  • 250 grams (1 cup) flour

Cream the caster sugar and salt into the butter.  Slowly add the corn flour while mixing with a spoon and then the flour, slowly, mix and mix until it goes through the stage of looking like crumbly pie crust and starts to stick together.   The corn meal or rice flour and the salt are optional but make a big difference to texture and flavor.

You can chill it before you press it into the mold.  Some say this makes the design come out better.

If you haven’t used the pan before, OIL IT!  Or the shortbread will stick.

Glob it into the pan and hammer it down with your hands as firm as you can for the best design.  When it’s smooth and even, prick it all over with a fork then bake in a 150 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  I had to use the bottom rack to keep the top from overbrowning.

Remove the pan from the oven, let cool 3-5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and turn out the pan over a cutting board.  If the shortbread doesn’t pop out, tap it firmly against the side of the board.  Cut into wedges with a big sharp knife while still warm.

Tastes even better the next day.

Makes 8 wedges.

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