So, I’ve mentioned before that my maternal grandmother was the first member of her family born in this country. Her family hailed from Scotland. Along with the necessities, they brought with them was a recipe for Scottish shortbread. This recipe has been passed down through generations. The area that my grandmother’s family settled was in a little steel mill town in Pennsylvania where other Scottish immigrants had settled. There were so many in the area, that the Presbyterian Church that my grandmother attended served shortbread at communion instead of wafers. Now THAT is Scottish. I can’t remember a Christmas growing up where we didn’t have shortbread. Now you, too, can channel your inner Highlander!
Sidenote: if you own a Kitchen Aid Mixer like myself, you’re going to be one happy camper because this will be a breeze. If you do not, prepare for some tired arms!
- 6 c. flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 lb. butter, softened a day in advance
- 1/4 tsp. salt (pinch)
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat in egg. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder (I use a whisk for this) in a separate bowl.
3. If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, put on your bread kneading attachment and slowly add flour mixture on lowest setting until ingredients are evenly combined. You will have a very dense, mound of dough when mixer is done. If you do not have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you will need to add the flour mixture by hand. Do not attempt to use a hand mixer or lesser mixer to add the flour, it WILL burn out the motor (Since I’ve been making this, I have officially murdered 4 hand mixers and one Sunbeam stand mixer, so thank goodness I got a Kitchen Aid last year–my reign of terror over small appliances has ended). Add the entire flour mixture into the large bowl with the other ingredients and use hands to combine. Rub the butter mixture into the flour using both hands until the dough resembles coarse meal Start squeezing and punching the dough to force it to stick together. Once the dough starts to stick, knead the dough until it forms a very stiff, dense ball (about 40 times—yes, you read that correctly). Think about how everything was combined using only hands for centuries and don’t feel so bad.
4. Divide the dough in half, place in two 7×11-inch pans. Take a fork and pierce the dough in rows, careful not to press fork too deeply (should go about 1/2 way down).
5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Shortbread will be very light, almost white with barely golden edges when done. Remove from oven, cut immediately with a sharp knife into rectangles, or “fingers” (I prefer to cut off all the edges first). Cool in pan.
Enjoy with tea or coffee and get your Scott on!