Monday, September 9, 2019

The way to my heart . . . Shortbread!

Do you love shortbread . . . the buttery Scottish biscuit? I do. I'm always looking for ways to perfect my shortbread baking experience. I have one tried and true recipe that I make often because it's simple. Then I found this one with chocolate as one of the ingredients, and had to make it.

Sometimes bakers call shortbread the 1-2-3 recipe because it basically has just three key ingredients---butter, flour and sugar. You can add other flavors, as is shown in my notes---ALICE'S NOTES-- in the following recipe. I have added a number of my notes. They might help you; if not, simply ignore. The recipe is pretty much borrowed from creative baker Ina Garten.

Want to know why your recipes might crumble? Read this piece on the science of using ingredients how and why.

And now onto Shortbread.  Enjoy!!

Shortbread Recipe

* 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature [ALICE'S NOTE: For those who don't cook with a scale a have a kitchen scale, that would be three sticks of butter or 1 1/2 cups.]
* 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling [ALICE'S NOTE: I always use less sugar than American recipes call for. Keeps the shortbread from being overly-sweet. For this recipe, I used only 1/2 cup sugar.]
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. [I also added 2 ounces of the chocolate and mixed that in with half of the dough so that the dough has bits of chocolate.] Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. [ALICE'S NOTE: I don't have a cutter in this shape, so I used a 1-inch round cutter and it worked fine. It did make smaller cookies, I ended up with 6 dozen.] Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. [ALICE'S NOTE: I put mine on parchment paper---no need to grease it. Our cookie trays/sheets are used for other baking--like fries---and are old, so to keep any old taste from getting onto the shortbread, I lined the baking sheet with parchment paper.] Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. [ALICE'S NOTE: Less time to bake if you make smaller cookies. I baked mine for 12 minutes.] Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.[I re-used the ones I put on the trays to bake with..] Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don't trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier. [ALICE'S NOTE: I took about an ounce of the melted chocolate and added 1/2 ts of orange flavoring to it. I also used crushed walnuts to add to the tops of my shortbread after I drizzled chocolate. See my photo above.]
  5. Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it. 

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