My grandmother always used to make shortbread, and even though I usually went for more gooey things as a kid, I loved my grandma’s shortbread cookies. They were so uncomplicated, but elegant and delicious. This recipe yields a cookie that’s in that same classic, simple style.
I always said these cookies tasted like crunchy butter. When I set out to make them years ago, even though this recipe uses only three ingredients, I tried over and over and over to make them just right. The first key point I learned is to be sure that you bake your shortbread enough. If it’s underbaked, it’ll taste doughy. Another key is salt. If you don’t use salted butter, definitely add salt to bring out the flavor of the butter and the sugar.
This dough can create several variations to suit your taste. Feel free to add whatever flavors appeal to you. I listed a few ideas to try below. These cookies freeze well, are not fussy and can be mailed easily.
Cookies can (and should) be eaten all day, but these are perfect for a simple dessert with fruit or with ice cream, or an afternoon tea with a little something sweet. Freeze them in a Ziploc bag to have on hand.
What You’ll Need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups salted cold butter, cut into small pieces. (use a very high quality butter here)
1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Set aside a glass 13-inch by 9-inch pan, ungreased
3. In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar.
4. Using a paddle attachment, add cold butter pieces and work them into the flour-sugar mixture until well combined.
5. Add variations if desired and mix till combined.
6. Press mixture evenly into pan.
7. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown in center and on edges. Cut into squares while still warm or they will break when cooled.
Yield: thirty-two 2-inch pieces
Lemon Ginger Shortbread
Add 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger, 1 cup minced candied lemon peel or zest of one lemon and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread
Add 3 tablespoons poppy seeds and Zest of 2 lemons
Brown Sugar Ginger Shortbread
Use dark brown sugar instead of white sugar and add 1 cup chopped crystallized ginger. (mini chips would be yummy too)
Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans