Ya know, I always thought, eh, Shortbread, it's just a cookie.  Or, eh, Shorbread, no big deal.  Or, Shortbread, eh, ok, whatev's.

Clearly I'm an idiot. 

Because I went to Scotland and my eyes were opened.  More like I was hit on the head, in a quit-being-an-idiot fashion.

Travel.  It's the best.

So Shortbread.  It's a study of simplicity at its finest.  Delicate, crumbly, buttery, lightly sweet.  Ethereal.  Subtle.  Deeelicious.

shortbread sliced
A bit ago I shared that Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Shortbread recipe and of course, they're also delicious, I will never steer you wrong.

But obviously that's, as I had said in that particular post, a tangential Americanized shortbread variation.

Now, ok, so is this particular Shortbread recipe I'm sharing today the real deal, fresh from Scotland?

It's tough to say.  There are so many versions of Shortbread recipes out there, though they are generally in the ballpark of the same handful of ingredients:  flour, butter, and a little sugar.  I was seeking simplicity as I imagine that's what the Scots do.

This one came to me via Food52 which came to them via a particular bakery in New York.  Does that automatically disqualify this recipe?  No, no, I wouldn't say it does.

But sometimes I am a stickler for, what's the not authenticity as that has a few negative connotations (long read) attached to it....Historical might be the word.  To honor and know the history of a recipe, I become a stickler about sometimes.

shortbread baked in pan close up
Because, heh, the history of recipes is pretty fascinating to me.  And I never really recognized my fascination until I read a specific book about the history of cake.

In general though, sure, recipes came out of necessity but over time, they take on additional meanings, whether cultural, national, personal, familial, or otherwise.  Over time too, they evolve or in some cases, don't.

So a stickler maybe with regard to learning the historical but also embracing that times change, people change, things change, and recipes change.  How it started, how it's going.

Which brings me back to Shortbread.  According to Wikipedia, Shortbread has been around for over a thousand years and is as simple as 3, 2, 1.  Three(ish) parts flour to two parts butter to one part sugar.  Mix, bake, yum.

I'll have to try that.

In the meantime, today I've got this here Shortbread adaptation and it is damn fine.  Whoo.  Like so fine, I doltishly thought could resist the little storage container sitting there on the counter but lo, no, I cannot. 

These little Shortbread fingers are creepers.  They creep into your consciousness, then your subconsciousness, and before you know it, your fingers are creeping into the bin for ah just one more.

So incredibly simple these little fingers of heaven.  Heads up, this is an overnight recipe so prep a day ahead.  And use the gram measurements for accuracy.  Get that kitchen scale* you've been eyeballing.

Bring your butter up to room-ish temperature and prep your pan.  As I didn't have a 9x13 rimmed baking sheet,* I went with my USA 9x13 metal baking pan.*

weighing butter on scale
I was one gram over.  Boo hoo.
You can line it with parchment paper,* or like a slip of it to help get the finished baked goods out...but I'll get to that.

Toss the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer,* or a bowl* and use an electric mixer.*  Stir them a smidge.

dry ingredients in mixer bowl
Then toss in your butter and you'll mix this around until a dough forms. 
adding butter to dry ingredients
It might take a moment and look like it's not coming together but it will.  You might have to scrape* a few times to keep things off the paddle.  No problem.
shortbread dough formed
Next, spread that dough out onto your baking sheet or in the baking pan nice and smooth and level.  This is where I ran into issues with the parchment and tossed it; it would not sit still.  More aggravating than useful.
shortbread dough in pan about to spread

shortbread dough spread out in pan
Off to the fridge the pan goes for a chill overnight.

Next day, it's bake time!  It's a long slow one too, about an hour plus of low and slow.  Again, you'll think this isn't going to work but trust me, it does.  Dock the dough with a fork then schwoop, into the oven.
docking shortbread dough with fork
You're looking for lightly golden.  Whoo it's so pretty.  It'll be a bit darker on the edges and that's fine.

baked shortbread in pan
Take the pan out, let it cool for about five minutes for the giant cookie to release itself from the pan.  Don't go longer or you won't be able to slice.

Flip the whole thing out (I used a sheet pan then onto parchment) and slice with a nice sharp, large kitchen knife.*  Once sliced, sprinkle with some crunchy sugar like Demerara or big grained raw.

slicing shortbread fingers
Slip everything onto a cooling rack,* cool completely, and seriously, good luck keeping your fingers from creeping into that stash.

sliced shortbread on a plate from above
So light.  So delicate.  So freakin' delicious.  Shortbread, my friends. 

shortbread cookies on a plate
Happy baking!

*The kitchen scales, rimmed baking sheets, USA baking pans, parchment paper, stand mixers, mixing bowls, electric mixers, spatulas, kitchen knives, and cooling racks are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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