Butterscotch Shortbread - made October 15, 2011 from Shortbread by Jann Johnson (book #169)
I love shortbread. It's got the whole butter thing going on and good shortbread is worth every (astronomical) calorie. When you make shortbread, be sure to use fresh butter - it doesn't have to come straight from the dairy farm but don't use butter that's been sitting in your refrigerator for weeks either. Butter is such a key component of shortbread that its flavor will definitely come through so use the good (fresh) stuff. When spreading the shortbread dough, you also want to take care to spread it as evenly as possible. Shortbread isn't just about taste; it's also about texture. If your shortbread is uneven, the thinnest part will bake faster and may be of a perfect texture while the thickest part may be underbaked and be cakey rather than have the melting-soft-crisp texture of good shortbread.
My favorite shortbread is from Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen but I wanted to try this recipe as well and see how it stacks up. Similar to the Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread recipe, it uses rice flour which adds to the tender texture of shortbread. Although it didn't call for it, I also added chopped up butterscotch chips to give it an additional butterscotch flavor which is what I enjoy from Regan Daley's recipe.
Despite the addition, this didn't measure up to my favorite shortbread recipe. It was good but I preferred the other one. The most common problem with most shortbreads is too much butter and this fell into that category. I baked it for even longer than the recipe directed since I knew another common problem - and a mistake I've made more often than not - is not baking shortbread long enough and not getting the crisp texture. Because of the high amount of butter relative to the flour, I don't think baking this even longer would've solved the texture issue. It's just meant to be a softer and chewier shortbread because of all the butter. The brown sugar flavor was good and I'm glad I added the butterscotch chips but if you want to try a great shortbread recipe, try the Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread recipe first.
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons rice flour
¾ cup butter, softened
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Lightly butter 8” round pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. In a small bowl, whisk the flours together; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed or a wooden spoon, beat the butter until light in color, about 1 minute. Gradually mix in the brown sugar and salt. Add the vanilla and continue beating until mixture is well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually mix in the flours until just combined. The dough will be soft.
3. Press the dough evenly into the pan and smooth the surface of the dough. Use a fork to score the dough around the outer edge.
4. Bake in the center of the oven for about 55 minutes or until pale golden. Place the pan on a rack and let the shortbread cool completely. Transfer the shortbread from the pan to a cutting board. With a sharp, thin knife, cut into 16 wedges.