This is a great little method of shortbread I have refined out of necessity, because of the challenges of Tiny House tiny oven that burns everything from the back way before done, and having hardly any counter space to work on anyway. No complaints really, but only that I have had to abandon my usual ritual of making my own signature shortbread . . . beginning with fresh grinding oats with a grain grinding attachment on my heavy duty Kitchenaid mixer that swishes together three batches at once like stirring cream into your coffee, then a process of rolling out over a great sprawling counter space, between layers of waxed paper with my maple wood rolling pin and lastly cutting then perforating each piece with three particular wooden chopsticks. Right, so my tried and true shortbread ritual with all of its specific paraphernalia has been abandoned while living in our Tiny House, but by abandoning it for a far easier & faster method, I have actually made a discovery of shortbread with delightful and very unique texture!
And I have to make this small batch very often, because not only does Jeff really appreciate home-made shortbread in his working man’s lunch, but the carpenters building our house do as well, and I have been bringing this very shortbread up to the builders often, with pint jars of tea, coffee, or cocoa. They light up when they see me bring in the basket, thanking me again and again, and for me it is essential that our house is being built by happy & pampered carpenters! So, I am the designated shortbread pro. I was once employed at what is now a locally famous bakery cafe, and these are in fact, the same ingredients that bakery used, but put together in a very different way. This is how I make one batch of my no-burned-edges Tiny House Shortbread.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Ingredients : 1 cup fresh unbleached flour, 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar, 1/2 cup (1 cube) organic salted cold butter, cut into slices. (I also put in the mix just a pinch of grey sea salt ground in mortar & pestle.)
My specific Tiny House instructions:
1. In small Cuisinart (should I say tiny food processor?) blend flour & sugar, then add butter and pulse until all the butter has been finely chopped into the flour/sugar, and has become a lovely buttery shortbread ” powder “. Do not over process into clumpy dough, stop mixing when it is still a powdery crumb, but integrated fully.
2. Dump mix into 8x8x2 inch square Pyrex glass baking dish, and very lightly distribute evenly with your hands or a spatula and lightly pat into a somewhat level even layer, but no pressing, it really will all melt, then crisp together in a beautiful way that these three magical ingredients do all by themselves.
3. Place in oven, right against the door and bake, turning a quarter turn every 5 minutes, so that shortbread is forced to bake more even.
4. When the edges begin to brown, around 15 minutes, lift out of oven and cut around perimeter of baking dish about 1/2 inch into the shortbread and lift out these bits on to the cooling rack (to eat in the mean time), before the edges scorch and are wasted, and the flavor of burn permeates the batch.
Honestly, omit the trimming edge step if you are using a conventional oven which heats evenly and doesn’t burn the edges of things, but if you want to do it for fun, and to have those little bits & cut-edge squares, well then do it anyway!
5. Cut into 16 to 20 squares, and then carefully separate the squares a little in the dish, without lifting — but really, this is fiddly and not even necessary.
6. Back into the oven, turning dish every 5 minutes to get even baking. When the shortbread looks golden and beautiful, remove from oven, and with spatula carefully lift squares onto cooling rack. Voila!
Heavenly chocolate version: Make the exact same way but add into flour mix 1/4 cup best dutch-processed cocoa powder, and when adding the butter, also add 1/2 tsp of best quality vanilla extract.