Saturday, April 23, 2011

Con's Shortbread ~ With permission!

If you've ever had my sister Connie's shortbread, you've had the best there is! She is the be all and end all of shortbread bakers! It was a daunting task to undertake; to even TRY to make this buttery, flakey pan of goodness, but I did it! My bars came out thinner than Con's (first thing Linds noticed), but all in all, I think they're pretty darn good. She said it's ok to share her recipe, and I think the secret to the wonderfulness is in her detailed explanation of how she works her magic!

Ingredients are pretty simple: flour, sugar, butter. I can do that.

Mmmm, can't go wrong with butter. Ever.

My helper sifted the dry ingredients together three times, just like he was told. : )

He's very good at this! Hmmm....

Makes more of a mess than I figgered on.

I thought this was really neat. Mound up the dry ingredients...

Make a butter "train" down the middle (it sounds fun and way healthier when you call the butter a "train")...

Cover the butter with the flour and sugar mixture...

And squish, crumble and knead away! (How'd my Mom's hand get in there?!)

The dough forms a shiny (a/k/a buttery) ball.

I'm missing a few steps, but they're in the recipe ; ) I put lots o' holes in it, but they closed up while baking! So I re-poked them when I realized the pan was solid dough.

Golden brown! (Jack "called it" for me; I think I was too worried and probably would have let it burn. Thanks, hon.)

Ooops, who did that?! Those darn little ends never measure out right! So I had to eat them!

Connie's Shortbread, made with ♥

Ingredients: 5 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 lb butter, plus some superfine sugar (if you can't find this, just use regular sugar in a grinder).

Sift (I just use a wire strainer) each cup of flour into a large bowl, then sift in the sugar (throw out the pieces that don't go through the strainer), mix them together; then sift the dry ingredients 3 more times.

I sift into the bowl, then onto the countertop, then back to the bowl then finally to the countertop again.

Before I start, I remove one pound of butter from the fridge, and open the paper around each stick, allowing them to un-chill a bit, while mixing the flour and sugar. As you're sifting the last time onto the countertop, make a nice long mound to place your unwrapped butter sticks on, and then cover them with the rest of the sifted mix.

Get all of your mixing materials out of your way, and start kneading the butter and flour mixture together. It will initially still be a bit cool, but the butter will warm up as you knead. It will go through a crumbly stage, but will eventually form one big ball. Then I roll it into a log the length of my baking sheet  (I use a 10" x 15" pan)  and press into the pan until it's nice and flat.  (Tip: a rolling pin rolled across the top will remove all those finger and "heel of your hand" marks from the dough).  Before placing in preheated 300 degree oven for 45 minutes, poke holes through the dough with fork tines. Make the holes closer together in the center of the pan and more spread apart near the outside of the pan.

It should be a nice golden color when done.

As soon as you remove it from the oven, sprinkle with Superfine (sometimes called "BAR") sugar, then slice into bars.

Slice it down the middle both ways, and keep diving each section in half until you get the size bars you want.

You will not be able to cut through it once it cools, so make sure you slice it right away.
Have fun!
Love ya,
Thanks, sis, love you too!

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