Shortbread is a classic Scottish cookie consisting of one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Shortbread can be baked in strips, cookie cutter shapes, or pressed into a form to produce a shortbread cake. A shortbread form is a mold that produces a pattern or picture for the baked cookie (or cake).
This recipe splits the three parts flour into two parts flour and one part corn starch producing a finer texture and adding a bit of flavor to the cookies.
The “short” in shortbread comes from an old meaning for the word short, describing the crumbly texture of the cookie. The texture comes from the high butter (fat) content. Shortbread evolved from another traditional Scottish recipe for Rusk where the yeast in the Rusk was eventually replaced by butter.
The recipe below is slightly modified from the original. It called for a higher oven temperature. This tended to burn the cookies as they baked too fast on the edges. A slightly lowered temperature as indicated in this recipe has produced perfect cookies ever since.
These shortbread will melt in your mouth. They can be served on their own, with ice cream, or with your favorite beverage of tea, coffee, or milk.
When preparing the cookies below, you can “dress them up” by adding small pieces of candied cherry to decorate them before baking or by dusting them with a little icing sugar after they have cooled.
1 lb flour
1/2 lb cornstarch
1/2 lb icing sugar
1 lb butter
1. Sift all the dry ingredients together ensuring they are well blended.
2. Add in the butter in small amounts. Blend together as if mixing a pastry dough. Continue mixing until the ingredients have come together. Do not overwork.
3. Roll out with a wooden rolling pin, using some flour to dust the work surface and the pin.
4. Roll to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Use your favorite cookie cutter(s) to cut out your cookie shapes. For a more traditional cookie you can cut the dough into rectangles or press it into a short bread form.
5. Place cookies on parchment paper on a baking sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper, then use a non-stick tray. A thicker tray will perform better and is less likely to burn the bottom of your cookies.
6 Bake in 325 degree oven for approximately 15 or 20 minutes until golden. Do nor overcook.
7. Cool on wire rack.