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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Have you ever just got back from the store after buying all the ingredients for something you had planned for weeks to make, only to discover you bought salted butter instead of unsalted butter? Yep, that happened to me the other day.

I have been eyeballing this recipe for so long now and when I went to make it (finally), when I discovered that I bought salted butter instead of unsalted butter. Funny thing is, I never, let me clear that up, N-E-V-E-R buy salted butter.

Yes, I was wearing my glasses at the time too. I knew you were about to ask that!

How something so bizarre could ever happen, I can only figure I was so excited to be buying the European butter that I accidentally grabbed the salted butter. Oops!

Butter failure.

Ha, that's what I initially thought too! But instead I decided to give it a go with the salted butter and see how it turned out. A baking experiment of sorts, you could say, for inquiring minds. Because I'm sure there's a lot of you out there, besides myself, who have wondered "can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter in this recipe?".

The answer for me was yes.

Since the recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt, I used the salted butter and added two pinches of salt to make up the difference, which was pure luck in my case.

Recently, Food52 did a post on using salted for unsalted butter in recipes and they actually did the math, (yes, actual math equations) to figure out the amount of salt to use when substituting salted for unsalted butter in recipes. Crazy, right?!?

If you want to do the math, check out Food52's post on the use of salted for unsalted butter or vice versa in recipes here.

Like I said, I just winged it and it worked out fine as my shortbread cookies did not turn out mushy or pasty.

Now I would not recommend using regular butter over European butter because I could just tell by the feel of the European butter how much creamier it is than regular butter. Just think of comparing itchy wool to plush velvet, no comparison at all.

That's the comparison between regular butter and European butter, no comparison.

These cookies are amazing as you can smell the butter in them. And that buttery, melt in your mouth cookie pushes them over the edge. Of course you can always drizzle chocolate or caramel over the top, if that's what you fancy.

But for me, I love them exactly how they are, buttery, melt in your mouth cookies.

Why mess with a good thing?

Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Recipe by Julie Murphy @ Sweet and Spicy Monkey
A subtly sweet, buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cookie.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen shortbread cookies
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted European butter, chilled and sliced into chunks, about Tablespoon size
  • 1 to 2 pinches sea salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Butter one 10" x 9" pan. You can also use two 5" x 9" pans, instead of the one pan. Set aside.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl portion of food processor. Pulse to blend.
  4. Add in chunks of butter and mix on High speed for approximately 1 minute. Dough will resemble a sandy texture and clump when squeezed together.
  5. Spoon into prepared pan. If using 2 pans, place half of mixture in each pan.
  6. Press dough mixture down firmly with your hands, flattening it. You can also use the bottom of a glass to get a smooth, even surface.
  7. Using a knife, trace light cuts into surface of dough, about 1" x 2" squares. These will be your "cookie cuts" after baking.
  8. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until shortbread is lightly browned around the edges.
  9. Remove from oven.
  10. Using a sharp knife, immediately cut where you traced lines before baking, cutting the cookies all the way through.
  11. Allow shortbread cookies to cool completely, for at least 1 hour in pan(s).
  12. After cookies have cooled, using a fork or knife, remove cookies from pan and serve. Best served with milk, tea, or coffee.
  13. Can be stored in an airtight container for at least 1 week.

Inspired by ~ Nicole at Baking Bites.

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