Recipe Flash: Shortbread, Two Ways

Posted by on Wednesday Jun 24th, 2009 | Print

Brown Sugar Shortbread
Coconut Shortbread
Makes 16 cookies each

A really nice thing about shortbread is that you don’t have to cream the butter and sugar the way you do for a lot of the best desserts. There’s something a whole lot less fussy about it, and then there’s the added plus that if you don’t own any kind of mixer, you’ll save your forearms the arduous task of mixing. Because in shortbread, you use your fingers to wedge the flour particles into the butter, making for a tender, crumbly cookie. In fact, the ingredient list is so minimal and the process so simple I was driven to re-complicate, making two flavored versions: coconut and brown sugar.

Being a bit plain, these cookies make a great garnish for things, and they also look beautiful in tins, if you’re ever in need of gifting some food.

Ingredients

For the Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at cold room temperature (not quite spreadable)

For the Coconut Shortbread

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at cold room temperature (not quite spreadable)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and coconut (if using). Cut the cold butter into 16 pieces, then work it in gently with your fingertips, smearing it into the flour and squeezing the dough together.

When you can gather the dough into a ball, press it evenly into a 9″ round fluted pie tin with removable bottom. Prick in several places with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning once, then remove and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting it crosswise into 16 pieces.

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  • Sarah L

    looks delicious and so pretty!

  • Jordana

    yum! i love the idea of coconut shortbread. now, i'm not a bake. do you think i can handle this recipe? any chance that i'll screw it up?

  • Phoebe and Cara, the Quarter-Life Cooks

    Jordana: emphatically yes! If you've got the butter somewhere between chilled and room temp, you'll be set. Shortbread is very forgiving.

  • http://cognitiveleeks.wordpress.com Christine

    Looks good! Do y’all have any idea if the butter could be substituted with coconut oil? If it wouldn’t affect the texture too much, it might bump up the coconut flavor a bit?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Christine–I’ve never tried it but I’m dying to now! If you’re not vegan, maybe start with half butter, half coconut oil? Either way, let me know how it goes!