How to make shortbread cookies

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How to make shortbread cookies
British shortbread (whether English or Scottish) is a solid teatime staple. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The secret to the tastiness of shortbread cookies is the butter content, rather than the sugar. This recipe makes about two dozen cookies.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 125 g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
  • 25 g (1 1/2) tbsp sugar
  • 200 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 65 g (1/4 cup) icing (confectioners') sugar
  • 120 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • Chef's knives
  • Baking sheets
  • Mixing bowls
  • Wire whisks

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  1. 1

    Heat oven to 150°C (300°F).

  2. 2

    Beat the butter, sugars and salt together until very fluffy.

  3. 3

    Stir in the flours; the dough will become very stiff and difficult to work. If the dough does not hold together, add a little milk until it does.

  4. 4

    Shape into a log about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and cut into rounds 6 mm (1/3-inch) thick.

  5. 5

    Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tips and warnings

  • It may be easier to wrap and chill the log before cutting.
  • Here's a strange addition, used in many commercial shortbreads: remove 1/3 of the all-purpose flour, and substitute an equal amount of rice flour. Why? Shortbread is supposed to be crumbly, and all-purpose flour contains lots of gluten, which gives structure to breads and pastries. Rice flour has no gluten at all, and will result in an extra-crumbly cookie.

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