Shortbreads are one of my favorite cookies. Scottish in origin, this rich, tender, and crumbly straw colored biscuit (cookie) was once served only during Christmas and New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay). In its most basic form, shortbreads are made with just three ingredients, butter, sugar, and flour. While today they are made in various shapes and sizes, at one time the dough was baked in a round mold and then cut into wedges that were given the name “Petticoat Tails”. This name refers to the shape of the shortbread wedges which is similar to the bell-hoop petticoats worn by court ladies in the 12th century.
The secret to making a good shortbread is to use a high quality butter. Butter in the States is graded according to flavor, color, texture, aroma and body and one easy way to tell the quality of the butter is by the letter code or numerical number listed on the butter’s package. The highest grade is labeled AA with a 93 score. An even better choice is to use a European-style butter which has a higher butterfat content. When you buy butter you have two choices; salted and unsalted. My preference is to use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the recipe plus I like its pure sweet buttery flavor.
Shortbread Cookies are delicious plain, but they are also very good when the ends of the cookies are dipped in melted chocolate. This shortbread is often called “Royal Shortbread”.
More Recipes at Joyofbaking.com
Article and Demonstration by Stephanie Jaworski
Photo and Videography by Rick Jaworski
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