It needs to be said, and we aren’t afraid to proclaim it: shortbread cookies are the elite cookie. The main ingredient is butter, first of all, somehow these cookies are light enough for spring and summer, yet cozy enough to be just as enjoyable during the fall and winter, and shortbread cookies are the only cookies that we don’t have a very strong ‘soft’ vs. ‘crunchy’ opinion on. While the ingredient list, prep, and baking time are no-full when it comes to baking shortbread, it can be a finicky process. So we’ve got some shortbread-making tips for you as well as a couple of our favorite shortbread recipes, so let’s get started!
(image via: istock)
Tips and Tricks
Make sure that your butter is soft; not too hard, and not too melty. You’ll notice that your shortbread recipes calls for 50 lbs of soft butter (okay, not 50 lbs, but it will call for a hefty amount of butter), and believe us when we say ‘soft’ is exactly what the recipe needs. If your butter is too cold, you’ll get tough shortbread, and if you try to melt your butter a little bit before adding it to your recipe, you’ll get tough dough as the flour absorbs unevenly.
It’s always tempting when it comes to working dough to just keep working and working it, but this is actually not good (not good at all) for your dough. Work your dough just until each component is incorporated, then move the dough to a floured surface.
Cream the butter and sugar like, really well. You may think you’re done creaming, but the truth is, you probably aren’t. Most recipes that require the creaming of ingredients will need a good five minutes before it’s properly mixed; for shortbread, plan on beating for about ten minutes.
(image via: preppy kitchen)
Chill your dough before your cookies go into the oven. Chilling your dough ensures that all that butter won’t be spreading while it’s baking and your cookies will hold their shape.
Let’s talk salt. Shortbread cookies are sweet, of course, but there is a bit of a salty bite. (Love it.) Play around with how much salt you like in your shortbread, some like a little, and some like a lot.
Have fun with flavors. Don’t get us wrong, a classic shortbread cookie is unmatched, but we like to play with flavors for fun sometimes. Now, there are a ton of ways to add a little flavor to shortbread cookies; lemon zest, orange zest, edible lavender, chocolate chips, jam, nutella, we think you get it.