Sunday, May 31, 2009

[Cookie 018] Classic Shortbread

Classic Shortbread, Earl Grey, Cherry 2

Hey there. Tomorrow's June, and generally around the last or first day of a month, I tend to exclaim "Oh man I can't believe it's _____ already! Where did (insert previous month) go? This crazy! Nuts! Time flies!" General hysteria, you know the drill.

Classic Shortbread and Earl Grey

But not so many exclamatory remarks for June 2009. Yeah, in actuality, I can't believe it isn't June yet. I can't believe it's been only two weeks since I came back to California--it seems like a month! Generally, this would be fantastic news for a student on summer vacation, but I do miss New York. Not hot-sweaty-summery-humid-icky New York necessarily, but I miss my friends there and the city itself.

Butter, softening

On a brighter note, however, L.A. is my place. I really love it here, I just don't know what I'm going to do for three months without a job. I maybe might have some employment opportunities, but I don't want to say anything just yet. Crossing my fingers though. In the meantime, I'll just bake and cook and photograph and sew and be domestic. You know, the usual.

Classic Shortbread Dough

So last week, I remembered that I had promised a very very dear friend of mine some sort of baked good for her birthday, and I totally failed on delivering the goods, literally. She's in Chicago, so I knew whatever I made would have to be shipable, as well as have a good long shelf-life, and of course confine to her personal palate (which, to be honest, is very very very discriminate--I think the term is "pickyness"). So, shortbread! Perfect! Martha says it even gets better with age, which I believe!

As usual, the recipe was pretty simple, and being a basic shortbread, called for only the most rudimentary of ingredients. We're talking butter, sugar, flour, salt, eggs. Done and done.

Classic Shortbread, pre-bake

Plus, you get to use a pretty fluted tart pan, and who doesn't love that, honestly? And after you cut the shortbread into wedges, you get adorable petticoat-shaped cookies. The only mildly annoying part of the recipe is that they take 1 hour to bake, in addition to cooling the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator, and I'm a girl who wants her cookies toute de suite.

Classic Shortbread

Anyways, I made the whole recipe (saving a little piece for myself to photograph and later consume...for research and data purposes, to be sure) and shipped them off in a cute box to my friend. She got them, and loved them so much! You really can't go wrong with shortbread, especially with a good cup of tea and maybe some fruit compote and fresh whipped cream? Yes. Or dipped in chocolate. Whatever sounds good--they are amazing plain too!

Party's over

So, maybe summer won't be too long and drawn out if I bake enough, because then I'll be able to balance my time between baking and trying to exercise away the abundance of calories on my bicycle. I'm actually thinking of starting a bike gang, but more info on that once we get organized. Keep your eyes peeled, though, if you're in the L.A. area; we're mean.

Classic Shortbread, Earl Grey, Cherry 1

Classic Shortbread
Makes 8 wedges

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl; set aside. Put butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy - 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add flour to mixture all at once; mix until just combined.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in upper third of oven.
  3. Using plastic wrap, press dough into a buttered 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. With plastic on dough, refrigerate 20 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. Cut out a round from center using a 2 1/4-inch cookie cutter; discard (or eat...honestly, Martha, sometimes I wonder). Put cutter back in center. Cut dough into eight wedges with a paring knife. Using a wooden skewer (a fork messes up the dough and makes it crumble), prick all over at 1/4-inch intervals.
  4. Bake until golden brown and firm in center, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Recut shortbread into wedges; let cool completely in pan. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 1/5 (A baby could do this...maybe?)
Ingredient Accessibility: 4.5/5 (The fluted tart-pan being the one possible difficulty)
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 3.5/5
Is it worth it?: Yeah! If you know someone who likes shortbread, these are great. Classic, truly.


jfklds said...


Dave said...

liz, I really liked the "before" and "after" eating pictures! this blog makes me so hungry!

Taylor said...



Amanda said...

Great post! I was on the lookout for recipes that go well with tea to link to from a blog I work on. A link to this post been included in today's post on Old Fashioned Tips! :)