Shortbread has beneficial effects on the soul. The warm glow it gives is better than alcohol…”– LUCY ELLMAN
Perhaps the most decadent cookie I have ever had. Awfully impressive, and dead easy, this is just a good basic brown sugar Scottish shortbread recipe, enhanced with butterscotch and toffee bits. As with any shortbread, the quality and freshness of the butter and flour make all the difference in the flavor and texture. Use the best, and make sure they’re fresh. The velvety texture come from a combination of all purpose flour and rice flour, which can be purchase in health food stores or Oriental markets. This makes a large batch, perfect for giving, and the shortbread keeps very well in airtight tins. Because the dough is so rich in butter, it should never be overworked, lest the butter begin to melt and impair the beautiful, fine layers of the delicate crumbs.
50, ¾ x 3 INCH OR 24, 1 x 3 INCH FINGERS
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour (240g)
- ⅔ cup rice flour, or substitute cornstarch if rice flour is unavailable
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups (¾ pound) fresh unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons fruit sugar or superfine sugar
- 6 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup miniature butterscotch chips (120g)
- ¾ cup English toffee pieces (100g) for baking, such as Skor Bits or Heath Bits (available in the baking sections of most supermarkets)
- Additional unsalted butter, for greasing pan
- Preheat the oven to 325℉. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan. Line the bottom and up the two long sides with a piece of parchment paper. Leave about a 1-inch overhang over the sides to make removing the cooled shortbread easier. Sift the all-purpose and rice flours together with the sale and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, beat the butter until very smooth. Gradually add the sugars and cream the mixture until it is very light an fluffy.
- If using a mixer, transfer the creamed butter-sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture, about ½ cup at a time, fully incorporating each addition before adding the next. Use your fingers to knead the final portion of dry ingredients into the dough, keeping your palms off the dough as much as possible, so the warmth doesn’t turn the butter oily. When the last of the flour is fully blended, add the butterscotch and toffee bits and knead them into the dough until they are evenly distributed. I should warn you, at the point, that this dough now smells better than any cookie dough you have ever experienced. Restrain yourself; you will do yourself no favors devouring the entire mess at this point, and the backing doesn’t take that long.
- Press the dough firmly into the prepared pan and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface. Prick the dough all over with a fork and set the pan in the centre of the oven. Bake the shortbread for about 45 minutes, then another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown, and the centre feels just firm to the touch.
- Leave the fingers to cool completely in the pan, then re-cut and transfer them to airtight tins. This shortbread can be frozen before or after it is baked. Freeze the dough pressed into the prepared pan, well wrapped with plastic and aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, without disturbing the wrapping, and bake directly from the refrigerator. The baking time may have to be increased by a few minutes to compensate for the chilled dough. Freeze the cooled fingers in airtight bags or containers, layering between sheets of waxed or parchment paper and wrapping the whole tin or container with aluminum foil. Thaw the entire packing, without removing the wrapping, at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.