Many years ago, I fell in love with shortbread cookies and decided to sell them. My stepdaughter Beth, who has great artistic talent, and is now an architect, made this sign which I put up in the basement of our apartment house. I only ever got one order. I brought a sample to Georgia DeLucca of Dean & Delucca and his verdict was: "Did you ever try Danish Lurpack butter? It needs salt." I strongly disagreed. Loving salt though I do, this one cookie, which has only butter, sugar, and flour, is the soul of purity and needs nothing more. (I did manage to suspend disbelief and tried the Lurpack butter, but even one grain of salt stood out in an unpleasant way. Thus ended my career as a cookie baking saleswoman and I went on to write The Cake Bible, and then Rose's Christmas Cookies, in which this recipe resides. I tried many different types of flours and sugars including part rice flour, which adds crispness, but bleached all-purpose flour is my favorite for this cookie. Scottish Shortbread CookiesMakes: 4 dozen 1-1/2 inch cookies Equipment: cookie sheets, no preparation needed
unsalted butter: 284 grams/10 ounces
powdered sugar: 28 grams/1/4 cup lightly spooned into cup and leveled off
granulated sugar: 50 grams: 1/4 cup
bleached all-purpose flour: 362 grams/3 cups, lightly spooned into cup and leveled off.
Cut the butter into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Wrap it, and refrigerate. In a food processor, process the sugars for about 1 minute until the sugar is very fine. Add the butter and pulse until the sugar disappears. Add the flour and pulse until there are a lot of moist, crumbly little pieces and no dry flour particles remain. Empty the mixture into a plastic bag and press it together. Remove the dough and knead it lightly until it holds together.
Set 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 275°F/135°C. Measure 2 level teaspoons or 1 scant tablespoon of the dough and knead each piece by flattening it between your palms and then rolling it into a 1 inch ball. Place each ball on the cookie sheets, flattening it with a cookie press, fork, or the bottom a tumbler, lightly moistened with water. Work with one ball at a time, right after rolling it, so that it does not crack around the edges. Leave about 1 inch between the flattened cookies.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until pale golden (do not brown). For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period. Use a small angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.