1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks; I love using Irish butter like Kerrygold, softened (you may use salted butter, but omit the salt)
½ cup cane sugar I use all natural pure cane sugar, white or bakers sugar may be substituted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract try other extracts as well, like Almond or orange, but use just a fraction
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch I use a non-GMO cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt omit if using salted butter
all natural or sanding sugar for sprinkling optional
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well about 2-3 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt whisking to mix; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed after each addition. (Mixture will be stiff and may be crumbly)
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 8-10 times.
Press dough into an un-greased 11×7 or 9×9 pan (if doubling, use a 15×10 in jellyroll pan, parchment lined if desired for easier removal).
Prick dough at 1-inch intervals with a fork, and score (cut) into 2 ½ x 1-inch bars. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Make sure to chill, this will firm the butterfat back up and provide that delectable light, crisp crumb you get with Scottish Shortbread. If desired, sprinkle with all-natural sugar or sanding sugar before baking.
Bake at 325° F (162° C) for 35 minutes, until set and lightly browned. Do not over bake! Cookies should be just lightly golden at the edges, baking too long will make them dry.
Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes; cut the shortbread into bars using previously scored lines. Cool completely before removing from the pan. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months. This recipe easily doubles!
As you can see shortbread dough is quite versatile. If you want to cut shapes with your cookie cutters, chill the dough in 2-3 discs wrapped in plastic wrap for 2 hours. SEE VIDEO FOR HOW TO
Roll or press dough to about ⅓ inch thick and press cookie cutters into the dough, transferring shapes with a spatula to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Like these fun Valentine’s Day Shortbread cookies
Or shape into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick and cut into finger-sized rectangles, piercing with a fork for the traditional shortbread appearance. or cut into squares, then cut squares at a diagonal.
Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet with a few inches between each cookie for a crisper cookie. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes, do not let them brown (golden is fine.)
If you want to get fancy, press dough into a pretty shortbread mold.
Why is my dough so crumbly and how do I fix it?
The quality of your butter and the amount of fat it contains can change the moisture content, so be sure to start with REAL butter. Meaning, it is rock-hard coming out of the fridge. I prefer using European butter (e.g. Kerrygold) as it’s higher in butterfat than American butters.
How did you measure the flour? Might be too much flour. Use the spoon and level method, spooning your flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight edge of a knife to level.
Did you use all-purpose flour? Perhaps you used a pastry, gluten-free or whole wheat flour, whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture which would lend to a dryer crumb.
Be sure to cream your butter and sugar together well, at least 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
Knead! The dough will be somewhat crumbly when you take it out from the mixer, get in there with your hands and gently knead the dough until it begins to come together. It is called short “bread”
To fix, try kneading by hand for several minutes until it comes together.
If still too crumbly to hold its shape, add a few drops of water and knead in, or try a few teaspoons of butter.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES
If you’d like to dip these shortbread cookies into a little dark, milk or white chocolate as shown in the pictures on the post.
1 cup of your choice of chips (dark chocolate, semi-sweet, milk or white chocolate chips)
2 teaspoons butter
Melt on high in 30 second intervals, stirring well between heatings. The chocolate will continue to melt with residual heat, it’s important not to overheat it as it will cause the chocolate to “break”. Dip as desired and add sprinkles if desired.