It’s hard to believe something so delicious only has four ingredients. The key to this simple recipe is to embrace your inner love of butter. If you use enough natural dairy goodness, the shortbreads will practically leap off the pan instead of clinging to it like a desperate lover. Save yourself some heartbreak by being generous with the fat.
1 c / 225 g butter
2 c / 260 g flour
½ c /100 g sugar
½ tsp salt
Cream your butter and sugar together until they’re completely smooth.
Shortbread is excellent on its own, but if you want to add in some extra flavoring agents, now is the time. Lavender and rosemary are perfectly Shire-appropriate additions. At most, add ½ tbsp of either.
Once you’ve stirred any extra flavors into your buttery goodness, whisk your salt into your flour. Dump the salty flour into your butter mixture. Keep mixing until the flour is completely integrated into the butter. The best method is to give up on the spoon and just reach in there with your hands. Once you have a nice, uniform dough, knead it a few times for good measure.
If you’ve added any flavoring agents, form the dough into a log, wrap it in plastic, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so the flavors can mingle. If you don’t plan to add any extras, you can either shape it into a log for easy cutting or go ahead and bake it now.
If you want to use a cookie cutter for fun shapes, let your dough come back to room temperature and roll it out to ½ inch / 1.25 cm thickness. If you’re not particular about shapes, rolling it into a log and simply slicing off coins certainly saves time. Either way, the shortbreads will taste great.
Arrange your shortbreads 1 inch / 2.5 cm apart on a heavily buttered glass cake pan. The extra butter makes them release even faster.
Bake at 325F / 160C for 18-20 minutes, or until the shortbreads turn a rich golden brown. Don’t over bake them or else they’ll turn a sickly grey-brown. To preserve the texture, store them in a room temperature an airtight container.
Need more Hobbity goodness in your life?
Preview even more recipes from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, available now!
Sample recipes from all seven chapters of An Unexpected Cookbook:
Breakfast – Poached Pears Stuffed with Frumenty
Second Breakfast – Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Hand Pies
Elevenses – Shire Seed Cake
Luncheon – Stewed Hare with Root Vegetables and Dumplings
Afternoon Tea – Shortbread
Supper – Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms
Dinner – Boxty on the Griddle with Bacon
Need more? Buy your own copy of An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, Amazon.com.