I can never resist a good homemade biscuit. The Australian biscuit and the American cookie are almost one and the same. I have been lead to believe that the American cookie is maybe a little softer than the crunchy Australian biscuit but I may be wrong there.
I recently baked a variety of biscuits from Greg Patent’s A Baker’s Odyssey
which showcases a wide range from many countries around the world. On the platter there were Scottish shortbread, Italian Anise-Orange Cookies, German Pfeffernüsse, and Greek Kourabiedes.
Even though I know baking is a science and a recipe should be followed to the letter, I never seem to manage that. Either I can’t quite get the correct ingredient or something may not be totally to my taste so I am always evolving recipes and changing to suit my mood on the day. I’m breaking the rules, I know! I decided to roll the dough to the minimum of 6mm asked for in the recipe but that meant a large rectangle resulting in huge shortbread. I don’t think anyone minded! They are delicious and buttery and one small shortbread would never have been enough.
Greg recently baked the exact recipe
over at his blog The Baking Wizard
. Yep, they look pretty perfect. The key is not to over bake. But with this recipe, whatever way you make them they will be devoured in moments!
Scottish Shortbread adapted from A Baker’s Odyssey by Greg Patent
250g salted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup castor (superfine) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper.
In a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer or simply with a wooden spoon) beat the softened butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat well until light and smooth. Beat in the vanilla then stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time until fully mixed in. The dough with come together in a mass. Don’t over beat. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
To roll the shortbread out, dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle about 30cm x 23cm (or about 12in x 9in). Square up the edges with your fingers. Cut into 18 pieces (cut the dough into 3 lengthwise and cut each strip into 6 pieces. These are big shortbread!
Prick each biscuit with a fork 3 times. Arrange on prepared baking trays.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool.