October 2003, pg. 144
I LOVE shortbread. Butter. Sugar. Honestly, what isn’t there to love about this simply delicious snack? My love of shortbread began when I worked at the coffee shop in Brewer Bookstore at St. Lawrence University. They had shortbread for a quarter. Whether I was in the mood for plain, chocolate chip, and/or pecan, the buttery goodness let me step away from my ever so stressful undergraduate life. Plus they sat on the counter calling my name.
I decided to whip-up a quick batch of the shortbread wedges this morning. Letting the butter sit at room temperature, I watched ‘Meet the Press’ for an hour. After I was done drinking coffee and watching some news, I creamed some butter. Mixed the sugar and flour with the butter and put the crumbly dough in an 8-inch springform pan. I thought I was being clever with the pan choice. There was no need. A half-pound of butter isn’t going to let a cup of flour and a third cup of sugar stick to anything. I attempted crimping the edges with a fork and failed. The top layer of dough was flaking off and I probably should have chilled the dough for a full 10 minutes like the recipe suggested. ‘Hindsight is 20/20.’
I cooked the shortbread for 35 minutes to ensure the center was firm. The edges of the shortbread did start to brown, so I laid foil over the pan for the last 5 minutes of baking. This is where I digress for a moment and explain my kitchen and oven.
I currently live in an old gristmill built before 1800. A well-known interior designer bought the severely neglected mill in the 1950’s and turned it into three apartments. My husband and I rent what was the old gear room. NOT a traditional living space. Our kitchen is about 6’x 5’ including the sink, counter, and oven. As you can imagine such a small kitchen can only fit a small oven. The oven doesn’t have a glass window. So I need to open the door, which lets heat out, every time I want to check on the cooking item. The temperature control knob does not have any temperatures on it. I had to buy a thermometer to put in the oven so I know what the temperature is. Requiring me to open the door more frequently. Lastly, there is not a tight seal on the oven door and it’s so small the temperature is not consistent. Now you know what I am dealing with.
After letting the shortbread cool completely I removed the shortbread from pan. I was able to break this delicious treat into the 8 wedges, no need for a serrated knife. Scoring the shortbread worked perfectly.
The shortbread wedges were a success. Not perfect, but delicious buttery snack! They almost melted in my mouth. They had a flaky texture when I was expecting a crumbly texture. I may not have creamed the butter long enough or I may try creaming the butter and sugar together and then adding the flour. My husband and I both prefer thicker shortbread. The next time I bake shortbread wedges I will use a smaller pan. A piece of advice: Only eat one wedge at a sitting. Your stomach may be yelling, “Too much butter.” If you go back for seconds, as mine did. But they were just so darn good!