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.

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