Shortbread cookies had been my first baking love. They had been the primary cookie I keep in mind placing within the oven myself, at all times for the vacations, at all times sporting a kid-sized apron. I’ve developed some robust opinions on the shortbread entrance through the years, and I’m going to speak you thru the distinction between nice shortbread cookies and those which might be simply so-so. Shortbread cookies may be the most effective cookie on any cookie tray (controversial take, I do know!), and this submit will stroll you thru how. I’ve featured shortbread many alternative methods on the positioning through the years, however love circling again to this buttery, golden, traditional shortbread model.
The Secret to Nice Shortbread Cookies
I ought to say secrets and techniques, plural, as a result of there are literally a couple of that may assist bump your shortbread sport from good to nice.
- Salt: Let’s begin with this, it’s a straightforward one. Lots of shortbread cookie recipes are underneath salted, and that may go away them tasting flat and boring. Others name for salted butter which may be nice, nevertheless it’s more durable to manage seasoning ranges. I’m not saying go wild on the salt entrance, however deal with it like a pillar ingredient. It’s the ingredient that may convey the toasted butter, sugar, and flour into excellent focus.
- Thickness: For traditional shortbread cookies like these, I prefer to go thick. I’ve discovered that rolling out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness is simply too skinny, and a full-inch is simply too thick. I goal for someplace within the 3/4-inch zone. This enables for golden crust with crisp buttery edge and a young heart.
- Baking Time: I’ve offered steerage within the recipe for baking time, however in actuality it’s all about having an eagle eye and good nostril right here. Use your sight and odor. Lots of the shortbread I’ve come throughout through the years is simply too pale, practically white. That’s not what I’m after. Shortbread that’s allowed to get tip high super-golden and toasted the place it touches the baking pan, with a wash of coloration over the remainder of the cookie is so significantly better. That’s how all the flavour involves life. It’s actually the distinction between butter and brown butter. Endurance and attentiveness pays off right here. Hover close to the oven, let your shortbread get toasty.
Elements in Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread magic occurs when butter, sugar, flour, and salt come collectively. The record of substances is extremely quick, so that you need to be sure that every one is on level. Be certain your butter is good-quality, and just lately bought. You don’t need the butter choosing up fridge odors. When doubtful, style. I additionally like to make use of a recent bag of all function flour when baking shortbread, some flours can choose up off smells and flavors once they’ve been sitting round too lengthy. I am additionally a purist on the subject of shortbread and skip the vanilla extract you may see in different recipes.
Make-Forward Shortbread Cookies
The freezer is your buddy right here and shortbread dough saved in an hermetic container or double wrapped in plastic can final frozen for months. You’ll be able to freeze the cookie dough pre-rollout or proceed by the cutout section. When you’ve rolled and reduce your dough, switch the unbaked cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze earlier than transferring to an air-tight container. Freeze till able to bake.
Thick or Skinny?
We talked a bit about this up above, however I’ve a couple of different issues to say. In relation to traditional shortbread cookies, I lean in the direction of thick. Alternatively, if I’ve loaded the dough up with zest, nuts, spices, or different flavors, I have a tendency to make use of a rolling pin to roll the dough out a bit extra thinly, slicing the cookies smaller for a extra concentrated expertise. All of that is private desire, after all. One factor to consider right here is oven temperature. For thicker shortbread, beginning with a barely hotter oven to set the dough, after which dialing it again a bit may also help forestall unfold. And with smaller, thinner shortbread you don’t have to fret about that as a lot. When doubtful, simply control issues!
How do I hold my Shortbread from Spreading?
In case you take a look at the pictures above you may see the distinction between correctly chilled shortbread dough previous to baking (circles), and dough that wasn’t chilled lengthy sufficient (rectangles). The circles had their form completely whereas the bigger rectangular slabs had a little bit of unfold. One other hour within the fridge or baking straight from the freezer will possible repair that. In case you’re nonetheless getting an excessive amount of unfold, cut back the time you’re creaming the butter and sugars, an excessive amount of air being included into the dough can even trigger your cookies to unfold. Final, verify your oven temperature is right, whether it is working low, you’re going to have hassle.
Different Shortbread Cookie Concepts
After you have a shortbread recipe you like in your again pocket (hopefully this one!), you may mess around with many variables. They’re nice for Christmas and past.
- Skillet Shortbread: bake instantly right into a forged iron skillet or press the dough right into a pan, marking with fork tines, then bake. In both case, mark the highest of the dough with fork tines, to make sure extra even baking.
- Attempt Different Flours: If you wish to introduce different flours to this recipe go for it. I’d begin with 20% and make notice from there. Rye flour is at all times an awesome place to begin, oat flour may be good, or buckwheat flour. I’m additionally interested in introducing a share of one thing like almond flour however haven’t experimented with that but. All would add dimension and depth.
- Sugar Crust: Lots of people like it once you sprinkle large-grain sugar throughout the shortbread dough earlier than baking. You find yourself with a crunchy sugar crust and a few sparkle.
I’ve baked and highlighted many shortbread cookies over years and realized so much. The Rosewater Shortbread Cookies and Toasted Almond Sables are my favorites within the beyond-classic class, however all of them are particular in a method or one other.
Center Japanese Millionaire’s Shortbread: That is the Center Japanese Millionaire’s Shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Candy. It is unimaginable for a lot of causes. Think about a crisp, shortbread base unfold thick with a creamy tahini-halva mix, completed with shiny tahini caramel. It is sensible, and a skinny slice makes for the proper deal with.
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies: One among my favorites. Traditional, buttery, complete wheat shortbread cookies aromatic with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They’ve a crunchy dusting of sugar on high that gives a satisfying, candy tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. They’re the prettiest of the shortbread lot.
Toasted Almond Sable Cookies // Toasty, nutty sable cookies made with complete wheat flour, sliced almonds, currents and salted butter. They’re a take-off on Alice Medrich’s charming Complete Wheat Sables, revealed in her guide Pure Dessert.
There’s additionally Apple & Carrot Shortbread, Hearst Fortress Shortbread Cookies, Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, and Olive Biscuit Cookies. After which, past that, listed here are all the cookie recipes and baking recipes. Blissful baking everybody!