Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Extraordinary Shortbread

I have shared with you my love of shortbread, so now I will share with you my most beloved shortbread recipe. The result is crisp, slightly sweet, very buttery and exactly as shortbread should be. To quote Mary Poppins, it is "practically perfect in every way."

It is so simple there is no reason not to make it. It saves well and I have never given a gift of shortbread to anyone who did not enjoy its natural nutty flavor and satisfying bite. I don't feel the need to say more because this recipe will speak for itself. I suggest you give it a go right away.


11 Tablespoons salted butter
½ cup evaporated cane sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a bowl, with a sturdy rubber spatula, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the cornmeal and mix until combined. Add the flour and process until just combined.

Turn the dough out into an un-greased pan; there is plenty of butter in the recipe to keep it from sticking. Press the dough with the heels of your hands into the pan. Level out the surface and then prick holes all over the dough, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until lightly golden.

Transfer to a cutting board, cut small rectangular pieces using a sharp knife while still hot and malleable, and let cool completely. If you wait for it to cool before cutting it will crumble when you try to cut it.

Shortbread saves very well and tastes even better the second day.

42 cookies; 50 calories each cookie.

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