Sunday, February 10, 2019

Scotch Shortbread Cookies

Scotch Shortbread Cookies
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1999 ed.), pg. 235.

I must confess that I am not a big fan of shortbread but Michael loves it. I made these for his birthday and he loved them. The Swedish Jelly Cookies are one of his favorites and although technically they are not shortbread, they do remind me of these cookies. He thought so too and put apricot preserves with them.

The dough did not hold together that well for me and I almost added more butter but decided against that. This could have been an issue with the butter temperature. I let it sit for a while on the counter to come to room temperature and perhaps it needs to be very cold. Even though the dough did come together in the mixer, it did when I kneaded it but was still very crumbly. This recipe creates a bit of a mess and when the cookies are finished, you can expect lots of crumbs when transferring them to the rack. 

So, this was definitely a "trial and error" recipe but overall, an easy one with a minimum of ingredients.

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup strained confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups strained cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for a few minutes. Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add the flour and cornstarch, beating until it holds together. (I had a problem with this and the mixture refused to hold together. I beat it for several minutes and went ahead and transferred it to the board and kneaded it and it did come together).

Turn out onto a board and knead lightly. Use one half of the dough at a time. Keep the dough that you are not currently using in an airtight container.

Roll the dough to 1/4 to 1/3 thickness. Cut out rounded pieces with a cookie cutter. Re-roll the remaining scraps of dough. Place the cookies on an unbuttered cookie sheet. 

The recipe instructs you to pierce each cookie three times with a fork. I forgot to do this but they turned out fine. 

Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through. The cookies are done when they are barely colored (not brown). Do not overbake. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

Taking a hint from another great recipe - Swedish Jelly Cookies - you might serve these with a collop of apricot preserves.

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