Tender, Buttery Shortbread
I am not going to call it a shortbread emergency, per se, but I was about THIS close to a meltdown. I saw Danielle from Gather’s photo of some ethereal flower cookie dough on Facebook and I was suddenly filled with intense desire to whine about how awful my life was because there was nary a cookie in sight. Then I remembered – I am really good at making shortbread and life didn’t have to be so bleak… With a jar of dried rose petals literally at my fingertips, a quick Wildflower Scottish Shortbread was born on a grey and dismal afternoon.
Here’s a note to my readers: Never participate in sheep shearing activities if your neck is tweaked. Two days of little to no sleep due to pain and the herky-jerky movements of irritated sheep that are less than excited about their pending nekkid-ness and the buzzing clippers is a recipe for grumpy Nitty Gritty Mama. While this recipe for Wildflower Scottish Shortbread is pretty darn good, it probably won’t fix my beleaguered neck, but it will soothe my soul. As shortbread was invented to do – soothe souls and stuff…
Now for a few tips and tricks for fantastic, tender shortbread… If you read my previous blog post on homemade butter – now is the time to break out the good stuff. Shortbread is basically a delivery system for butter, and, as such, the budget variety really won’t do. If you lack the means and access to freshly churned butter, I highly recommend grabbing some top shelf butter during your next trip the market. Believe me, your shortbread deserves it. You deserve it. While one can certainly leave out the addition of dried flowers, it does elevate the shortbread to something a bit divine. I used wild rose petals this time – but feel free to use an edible flower of your choice like violet, dandelion, pineapple weed, honeysuckle, mallow, lavender or yarrow (cultivated are fine too; spray and fertilizer free, please). Adjust your floral addition to taste, while rose and violet may taste wonderful as a large addition, lavender or yarrow may taste too “soapy” if added with a heavy hand. I use my food processor to pulse together the ingredients before pressing into my preferred baking dish. I have not found it particularly necessary to “dock” (poke with the tines of a fork) the pressed dough prior to baking, but you may do as you like. Finally, cook your shortbread JUST until the edges barely start to show color, which is to say that you kinda “under bake” them. The heat of the carryover will firm the shortbread as it cools. As soon as the shortbread emerges from the oven, I score or slice into desired servings and allow to cool in place.
Tender delicious shortbread may not be health food, let’s not fool ourselves. Shortbread will not solve your problems and it most certainly does nothing positive for the waistline. But, oh my, it does make life a little bit better for a few sweet moments.
Wildflower Scottish Shortbread Recipe
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons dried edible flowers (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 6 ounces high quality butter, cold and cubed
- more sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
- In a food processor, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt and dried flowers, pulsing until well combined.
- Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand and holds together slightly if pressed between fingers. (If no food processor, use a pastry cutter, fork or fingers to cut in butter thoroughly)
- Press into the bottom of a 8″ round tart pan with removable bottom (or your preferred baking dish of similar size) using the bottom of a measuring cup or something flat. Make sure all the edges are pressed firmly as well.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the very edges are barely golden and the surface of the shortbread appears “dry”. Remove from oven, dust lightly with sugar, and immediately cut or score into preferred servings. Cool completely before removing from baking dish.