Shortbread cookies are incredibly addictive, so I’m positive that I’m not the only one who’s eaten a ton of them in one sitting. Now I’m certainly not proud of it, but come on! How could anyone have the willpower to walk away from their subtle, buttery flavour? But you know what’s even better than store-bought shortbread cookies? Homemade ones — because everything tastes better when it’s homemade.
I spoke with Jessica McGovern from Flour Power (Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET) to find out exactly what you need to do to make the perfect shortbread cookies. Here’s what she had to say:
It’s all about the butter
Here’s you first challenge: find a high-quality, unsalted butter for your cookies.
“Butter is the star of the show for shortbread,” explained Jessica. “So the better the butter, the better the shortbread.”
And since you want to control the amount of salt in your cookies, make sure you get the unsalted kind, unless instructed otherwise in a specific recipe.
Cream the butter and sugar
It’s extremely important to take room-temperature butter and blend it up with your sugar for at least three to five minutes.
According to Jessica, “the crystals of the sugar will pierce the butter and create loads of air pockets, because you don’t want your shortbread to be hard when you bite into it.” In other words, creaming the sugar and butter together is precisely what’ll give your cookies that wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Chilling the dough is optional
When we chill cookie dough, it’s often only necessary to do so for a few minutes so it can hold any shape. If you don’t care what shape your cookies take on, don’t bother chilling it. But if you’re using a cookie cutter, you may want to pop it into the fridge for a bit.
Don’t bake them for too long
“If you bake them for too long, they’ll get too hard. You don’t even want them to get golden brown,” Jessica stated.
Shortbread cookies are the one dessert that you don’t want to bake ’till they’re golden. So take them out when the recipe says to even if they’re still pale.
“Get some different essences in there, or get some zest in there. You can really mix it up and add different pops of flavour,” suggested Jessica. You can even try adding in edible flowers once you’ve mastered regular shortbread cookies.