Posted by - elena gustavson
I love shortbread. Easy to make, buttery, fragrant and perfect with a hot cup of...something.
Apparently, it is customary to serve shortbread on the Winter Solstice (also called Imbolc) or on New Year's Eve. The round shape, marked with the tine of a fork around the edges, is meant to symbolize the sun for these dark of days of winter and the Scotts would carry them to neighbors and family in celebration.
Because i was making two batches, one plain and one with the herbs and citrus, I doubled a simple, plain Scottish Shortbread recipe I found in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook and it worked beautifully to fold in the variations at the end. I chilled the doughs for 2 hours and pressed into pie tins, baking at 325F for about 20 minutes.
Not having any fresh oranges on hand for zest, I used orange oil and just a bit of lemon zest. The finished shortbread is crumbly, tender and very fragrant. I'll be putting wedges in gift boxes for friends and eating the rest with a cup of spicy chai tea this afternoon!
King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
p 343, Scottish Shortbread (with my variations)
1 cup (2 sticks) good quality, unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar (calls for confectioners, but I used evaporated cane)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups King Arthur All Purpose flour
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp orange/lemon zest or 1 tsp orange oil
Pre-heat your oven to 325F
Cream butter with sugar, add salt and flour, then rosemary and zest/oil, working these ingredients into a soft dough by hand. Chill for a couple of hours or overnight.
Press dough into a round 9 inch pie plate and notch the edges. Score the dough by cutting halfway through it to divide the shortbread into 6 or 8 pie shaped pieces.
Bake until firm and barely golden. (The recipe says 1/2 to 1 hour, but mine was ready in 20 minutes.)