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Print this Recipe    Shortbread 17

Makes about 5 dozen 1 1/2-inch or 3 6- to 7-inch cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest, optional
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

In large mixing bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt
and orange zest until light. Fold in cornstarch, then flour, 1/2
cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Dough will be
extremely soft. Spoon dough onto the center of a 16-inch length
of plastic wrap. Fold long sides of plastic over dough. With
palms, roll wrapped dough to form a log about 14 inches long and
1 1/2 inches in diameter. Twist ends of plastic wrap to seal.
Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 1 to 4 hours.

Or, to make large shortbread rounds: Before refrigerating, divide
dough into 3 equal portions. Press each third evenly over bottom
of a lightly buttered 8-inch pie pan. You can also form dough into
3 6- to 7-inch circles on lightly buttered baking sheets (2 on 1
sheet, 1 on the other). Refrigerate 1 hour. Score each circle
into 8 wedges. Using the tines of a fork, prick the circles all
over at 3/4-inch intervals. If desired, notch the edges of each
circle with 1-inch-long slits, 1/4 inch apart. Preheat oven to
300 degrees F. Remove dough logs from refrigerator; unwrap. Cut
chilled dough into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on
ungreased baking sheets. If making large shortbread rounds, remove
them from the refrigerator 5 minutes before baking.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes (a few minutes longer may be necessary for
the large rounds), or until pale golden. Cookies are very fragile.
Use a metal spatula to carefully remove individual cookies from
the baking sheets; cool on racks. Cool large racks in pans or on
baking sheets. Store in an airtight container at room temperature
1 week; freeze for longer storage.


Nutty Shortbread: Add 3/4 cup ground toasted almonds, pecans,
walnuts or hazelnuts with flour. If desired, sprinkle top of
unbaked shortbread with chopped nuts; press lightly onto surface.

Chocolate Shortbread: Increase powdered sugar to 1 cup. Substitute
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process, for
1/3 cup flour.

Spiced Chocolate Shortbread: Add 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon
and ground nutmeg to dry ingredients for Chocolate Shortbread.

Spicy Shortbread: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon
each ground nutmeg and ground allspice with flour.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread: Melt 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil; cool until warm. Dip each cookie
halfway into melted chocolate. Place dipped cookies on a waxed
paper-lined baking sheet; refrigerate until chocolate is set.

Shortbread Sandwiches: Spread about 1/2 teaspoon seedless raspberry
(or your favorite) jam on the bottom of one shortbread cookie.
Top with a second cookie.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Sandwiches: If desired, dip shortbread
sandwiches halfway into melted semi-sweet chocolate


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