Greetings, kitchen cronies! There are some things in life that are meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, me and anything chocolate. Another great pairing is summer and shortbread.
This stripped-down staple is not only a must for any baker’s repertoire, it’s also perfect for warm-weather desserts. Shortbread is baked at a lower temperature, so your kitchen stays cooler. It only uses three simple ingredients you probably have on hand already, so no extra trips to the store in a sunbaked car. The recipe doesn’t call for whipped this or fluffy that, so you can even skip the appliances and crank these cookies out by hand.
Heck, you don’t even have to grease the pan!
Simple Homemade Shortbread Cookies
2 oz. sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter
6 oz. flour
Pretty intense, eh? I will caution you about one thing: measure by weight, not by volume. I’ve discovered that the four-ounce sticks of butter that I’ve been buying are, in reality, barely over three ounces each. And now, back to our regularly-scheduled recipe.
Throw the butter into a smallish mixing bowl and let it sit for an hour or so until it’s softened. Add the sugar and mash it into the butter until the gritty sound goes away. Shake in the flour, two or so ounces at a time, and blend thoroughly.
A note here: Too much mooshing and kneading will leave you with tough cookies and really greasy hands. You should wind up with a ball of what feels kind of like modeling clay, cool to the touch and with the last of the flour juuuust mixed in.
Pat the dough into an 8-inch cake pan. Flatten it out as best you can with your hands, then carefully slice it into eight reasonably equal triangles. Using a toothpick or a fork, poke a cool pattern into the top of each triangle. Slide the pan into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
While the dough gets cozy with the milk and salad greens, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. At the 20-minute mark, stick the pan of soon-to-be cookies into the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the edges are just barely golden brown and the entire house smells like butter.
Let the shortbread cool in the pan for 10 or 15 minutes. Give the pan a couple of good whacks on the side and flip the shortbread out onto a towel. Turn it right-side up on a flat plate. Use a sharp, thin knife to cut along the scored lines and separate your shortbread into servings.
While shortbread is fantastic plain, some folks (namely my husband), are not that into “nekkid cookies.” Get creative! Drizzle the tops with chocolate and chopped hazelnuts for a decadent treat. Top with a glaze of lime juice and powdered sugar, and sprinkle with decorator sugar to make margarita shortbread. You are limited only by your imagination and pantry.
— Have a question or suggestion for Bite Sighs? Email Audrey Lintner at firstname.lastname@example.org.