There are many different recipes for shortbread out there, and I have to say that I like most of them. Who could resist such a buttery treat? Walkers Shortbread is one of my favorites. I like the tender, but not crumbly, consistency of the shortbread and the way that it seems to melt in your mouth when you eat it. It is also very satisfying to eat for something so small. I wanted to make something as similar as possible to that classic Scottish shortbread at home and with the help of the ingredients list on the back of some of my favorite brands, I began to experiment.
This shortbread recipe is very simple and uses just flour, sugar, butter and a little bit of salt. I wanted the shortbread to have a tender, melt in your mouth texture and this recipe delivers exactly that. The shortbread have a wonderful consistency and a very buttery flavor, with just a hint of sweetness that makes them satisfying. The key to getting a sandy texture in the shortbread is to use quite a bit of butter and blend it into the flour very well, so only very tiny pieces remain. Unlike a pie crust, you don’t want your shortbread to be flaky. Instead, you want it to have a very uniform consistency. The best way to mix up the dough is in the food processor, but if you have a little patience you can also rub in the butter by hand.
Score the shortbread dough with a sharp knife before baking. You will need to cut it as soon as it comes out of the oven, while it is still hot, so you get clean slices. It is best to cut the shortbread into small pieces because it is rich and having smaller pieces will make it last longer. This shortbread keeps well can can be made in advance, and stored in an airtight container for at least a few days.
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter (pref. European-style), chilled
Preheat oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to blend.
Cut butter into large chunks and add to food processor. Whiz for about 1 minute, until dough has a very sandy and starts to clump together. Pour into a 9-inch square pan and spread into an even layer. Use a flat-bottomed glass to press down the dough firmly, creating as smooth a surface as possible.
Score dough lightly with a knife, marking 4 rows by 8 rows of shortbread pieces. Dock the dough with a fork, if desired.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until shortbread is lightly browned all over.
While the shortbread is still hot, use a sharp knife to cut shortbread all the way through along the lines you scored prior to baking. Allow shortbread to cool completely once it has been cut.
When cool, shortbread pieces should break apart very easily. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 32 pieces.