The Secret to Flawless Shortbread

Sometimes life just requires baking. In those moments nothing is better than a cookie. And when you want simplicity to go along with it, a shortbread cookie can be the ultimate satisfying treat.

Jim Lahey, the brilliant mind behind Sullivan Street Bakery grew up on Walker's Shortbread. I became a bit addicted to them myself when I lived in Scotland. But unlike Lahey I didn't spend years honing and perfecting my own version. Luckily he was willing to share his Italian take on the classic and in the video below Lahey takes us through his steps for plain and chocolate shortbread.

You're welcome.

Scozzese Shortbread Cookies

Makes 10 to 12 small cookies

EQUIPMENT: A 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch metal pie pan or a parchment-lined baking sheet

150 grams (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fine sea salt
113 grams (1 stick/8 tablespoons) top-quality unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
Optional for Chocolate Scozzese: 25 grams (3 tablespoons) unsweetened dark cocoa powder

Heat the oven to 400°F.  Stir the flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork in a medium bowl (if you are making Chocolate Scozzese you can also add the dark cocoa here). Mix with the fork. Mix until the ingredients are well combined, Add the softened butter but note that the dough will not come together on its own. It should be crumbly. Use your hands to gently squeeze the dough into a loose ball and then knead lightly until the dough is quite malleable. Press the dough into the tart pan in a nice even  layer or pat the dough into a giant cookie —  square, circle, or rectangle —about 1/2 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters, or bake as is.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the shortbread has turned a lovely golden hue, slightly darker around the edges. Using a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into 12 wedges. Place the pan on a cooling rack. When cool, carefully cut through the wedges again and remove the shortbread from the pan.