Sunday, 6 May 2012

Basic Shortbread

Shortbread is one of those nommy things you take for granted, and forget how easy it is to make even when you know how dramatically better homemade is from the store-bought stuff.  This recipe is a bit more involved than I've used before, but it works a treat and is still very simple.

The great thing about it is the latitude you have for variation - you might add a couple of tablespoons of orange or zest and extract, or lavender flowers, or a dash of almond extract along with some of the slivered nuts.  Shortbread is great to have with ice cream or macerated fruit, so you can tailor the type you make to what you'll be serving with it.


½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 ¾ sticks) butter, cold, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450F.  Pulse oats in spice grinder, blender, or food processor until reduced to fine powder, about ten 5-second pulses (you should have ¼ to 1/3 cup oat flour).  In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oat flour, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Add butter to dry ingredients and continue to mix on low speed until dough just forms and pulls away from sides of bowl, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Place upside-down (grooved edge should be at top) collar of a 9-inch springform pan on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet (do not use springform pan bottom).  Press dough into collar in even ½-inch-thick layer, smoothing top of dough with back of spoon or fingers.  Place a 2-inch biscuit cutter in center of dough and cut out center.  Place extracted round alongside springform collar on baking sheet - this can be your test piece.  Open the springform collar, but leave it in place.

Bake shortbread for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250F.  Continue to bake until edges turn pale golden, about 10 minutes longer.  Remove baking sheet from oven; turn off oven.  Remove springform pan collar; use chef’s knife to score surface of shortbread into 8 even wedges, cutting halfway through shortbread. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes in each wedge.  Return shortbread to oven and prop door open with handle of wooden spoon, leaving 1-inch gap at top.  Allow shortbread to dry in turned-off oven until pale golden in center (shortbread should be firm but giving to touch), about a half hour. 

Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool shortbread to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Cut shortbread at scored marks to separate and serve. 

Adapted from here.

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