Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fun-Sized Bread!


Please, don't call it "short" bread- It's actually very sensitive about its height, and would appreciate it if you chose a different term to describe it. But fun-sized bread is very polite, and won't say anything if you  decide to ignore it. I whipped up a batch this afternoon, and the results were fantastic! This cookie is ever so classy, and goes great with a cup of iced tea, coffee, or all by itself. And luckily, with only three ingredients, it's a snap to remember, even for people like me who forget someone's name moments after they tell me.

Scottish shortbread recipie:
I borrowed this one from a favorite cookbook of mine, highlighted in the sidebar.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened, plus a pinch of salt if you're using unsalted
Now, a word on butter. I've seen one cookbook after another passionately persist in their point that it's positively crucial to use unsalted butter, since the amount of salt in salted butter varies widely. But if you want my opinion, (and I hope that you do) it just doesn't matter, unless you're making clarified butter, or something else where it plays a staring role. Use whatever butter you have on hand.
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
You will also need:
  • Stand mixer with paddle attatchment
  • Rolling pins
  • Cookie cutters/biscuit cutters/pastry rings (Mine were 2.5 inches in diameter)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Wire cooling rack
  1. Line one aluminum sheet pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees (162.78 for Celsius folks)
  2. Using the stand mixer, whip the butter on highest speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and pour the sugar in a stream into the butter. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, return to high speed and allow to beat for 10 minutes. Yes, 10 minutes- it's the most important part of the whole process. You can tell because I used italics! Italics is for serious business.
  4. Once all of the sugar and butter has been whipped, reduce the mixer speed to slow, and incorporate the flour a little bit at a time, until it is just absorbed. The dough will toughen if you over mix, so while you should be sure to incorporate it all, don't mix unnecessarily.
  5. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and roll into a sheet that it 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the timer hits the 15 minute mark, be very, very careful (there's those italics again) to check on the cookies, as you do NOT want them to be browned.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and serve with jam and iced tea. Speaking in a British accent and pretending to be all classy is optional, but if no one's there to judge you.... I'll leave that choice up to you.

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