One of the basics in our repertoire of treats is buttery shortbread – crunchy, thin, thick, frosted, plain – yummy! After much experimentation, we think the following recipe, adapted from one published by Argo Cornstarch, is the best. Cornstarch seems to help with the lightness and crispiness. Their recipe doesn’t specify what type of butter – we always use unsalted, European-style butter (like Plugra) that has less moisture content than table butter. We also added a little salt because it tasted very bland without it.
Chill the dough before rolling and cutting. If it sticks too much to the rolling pin, roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap. We also press it into several small loaf pans, scoring it with a metal spatula before baking. The thicker the dough in a pan, the longer you’ll need to bake it to achieve the dry texture.
If wrapped well, this dough can be frozen for up to two months; however this is only recommended if you are planning to use the dough for rolled and decorated cookies that need to be a little “stronger” in structure. For consistently light, crispy shortbread, use the dough right away.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted, European-style butter
- ½ cup sugar (3½ ounces)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour (8½ ounces)
- ¼ cup cornstarch (1 ounce)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (275 for convection oven).
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch and salt and set aside.
- With paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down a couple of times.
- Add the flour/cornstarch mixture and mix until just incorporated. To prevent tough dough, don’t overmix.
- Gather up the dough, wrap and chill for rolling and cutting into shapes or press into a pan for immediate baking. If dough sticks when rolling, place it between two pieces of plastic wrap.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until very lightly browned. The thicker the dough in the pan, the longer it will need to bake.