I love plain buttery shortbread, but as with most things, I like a little variety in my shortbreads from time to time. One of my favorite shortbread variations is oatmeal shortbread. Oatmeal shortbread is a simple shortbread recipe that includes a good amount of oatmeal in it. While oatmeal does add to the texture of the cookies, creating a more crumbly result than flour alone, it also adds a deliciously nutty flavor that makes the cookies less one dimensional (even though having one dimension isn’t bad when that dimension is butter!).
I developed this recipe after eating some delicious Irish Oatmeal Biscuits that were buttery, crisp and full of oat flavor. Those cookies had a very short ingredient list and I wanted to keep my cookies as simple as possible while capturing some of the same flavors. These shortbread cookies are made in the food processor, whizzing together oatmeal, flour, sugar and butter until the mixture is crumbly. It is then poured into a springform pan to bake. You can make these without a food processor, cutting the butter in by hand or with a pastry cutter, but the food processor makes the whole process much easier.
The finished cookies have a wonderful texture, crisp and just sandy enough to almost melt into your mouth as you eat. They taste strongly of butter, with a lovely oaty, nutty finish to them. They are only subtly sweet, and you could probably even pair these with cheese if you don’t want to just eat them as-is. I used Irish butter and would recommend using a European style butter for extra richness, if you can. The recipe will work just fine with regular butter, however.
The secret to cutting shortbread cookies is to score the dough before you bake it, so you know exactly where to cut, and then to cut the cookies with a sharp knife as soon as they come out of the oven. This way, the cookies remain intact while slicing and are easy to break apart into perfect shortbread wedges when they cool. These cookies keep well in an airtight container for several days, but this is a small batch and it tends not to last that long!
Irish Oatmeal Shortbread
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tbsp oatmeal (regular or quick cooking)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold (Irish/European-style, pref.)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine flour, oatmeal, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Add in cold butter in several chunks. Whiz for about 1 minute, until mixture resembles very wet sand and begins to clump together. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan and press into an even layer. Use a flat-bottomed glass to press the shortbread down and give it a flat surface.
Use a sharp knife, score the shortbread into 12 wedges.
Bake for 25 minutes, until shortbread is lightly browned around the edges.
Immediately cut shortbread into wedges using a sharp knife, following the scored lines. Allow shortbread to cool completely in the pan.
Cooled shortbread will break apart easily along cut lines. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 wedges.
Note: If you are using salted butter, omit the salt from this recipe. You don’t want to run the risk of this simple recipe being too salty.