The blogosphere seems to be awash with shortbread, and that´s all right and proper, given how easy it is to bake and how baking seems to go hand in hand with winter holidays.
My recipe won´t contribute anything in the way of originality, since it´s for plain old shortbread, but I think users of the metric system will love me for it.
It´s from one of my favourite cookbooks, Joanna Weinberg´s "How to feed your friends with Relish".
I´ve only had this cookbook for a couple of months, but I love love love it. Why? Because it´s chatty and well written, beautifully designed, has gorgeous photos and lovely little line drawings, and, because the recipes I´ve tried so far have not only worked, they´ve worked without alteration. Gasp. I´m telling you, Weinberg, she´s the one.
The shortbread recipe is one of those you can memorize, thereby possibly cooking it while away from home, while staying with somebody. If you can produce this, you´ll be getting a lot of invitations, I think.
100 gr. of sugar
200 gr. of butter
300 gr. of flour
a generous pinchh of salt, and whatever you like in the way of aromatics (simple stuff, like chopped pecans, or lemon zest).
Thermomix users, you will love me even more when you know that I´ve adapted the recipe for you. Just put everything in, flour first, butter cold, and pulse 20 seconds, speed 6. Pat the rubbly dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Rest of the world users, please begin by creaming the butter with the sugar, adding flour and salt, and making a ball which will rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After this, you can either press it into a tin with a loose bottom, or you can cut out shapes after rolling it out. It´s easier if you let it come to room temperature, but still, it´s not easy to cut out shapes. If you cut, stay with small uncomplicated shapes.
Bake at 170º for about 20 minutes. You want it golden at the bottom but creamy yellow at the top. Remember, like all cookies, they will harden as they cool, so let them cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then lift them out. If you´ve done it in a tin, cut it while it´s hot and soft and lift them out after five minutes.
It keeps perfectly in a tin, and also freezes very well. I find it´s easier to keep my paws off it if it´s frozen, because the 5 minute defrosting wait helps. But maybe you´re strong.