SENT in by L. Dale Guy, this recipe for classic shortbread cookies originated at Hycroft House in Vancouver and was published in the ever-reliable Canadian Living magazine.
Over the last two weeks, we have featured 12 cookies, but there were many, many more sent in. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time and trouble to share their family favourites. I wish I could have published (and tasted) them all. May everyone enjoy happy holidays, and good baking, in the weeks ahead. To see last year's recipes, and this year's collection, go to wfp.to/cookies
Simply the best shortbread
228 g (1 cup or 250 ml) butter, softened
45 ml (3 tbsp) cornstarch
60 ml (1 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
425 ml (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
In large bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in cornstarch, 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time, then the sugar the same way. With a wooden spoon, beat in the flour 60 ml (1/4 cup) at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 2 cm (æ in) thickness. Using small floured, fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies, place on trays or sheets lined with parchment paper; prick each 3 times with a fork. Freeze until firm. (At this point, cookies can be transferred to freezer bags and baked within 1 month.) Preheat oven to 140C (275F) and bake for 40-50 minutes until firm to the touch and just slightly brown. Let cool on racks. Can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 dozen.
Tester's notes: I admit I have made and enjoyed a lot of nouveau shortbread in my time: I've added chocolate and citrus and ginger and nuts and dried fruit and toffee bits to shortbread dough. But I love the purity and simplicity of this old-school Scottish shortbread. With absolutely no additions, it's tender, buttery and not too sweet. I also like the stern specificity of the recipe: L. Dale Guy says you absolutely must beat in the flour using a wooden spoon, and you have to bake the cookies from frozen.