[Sca-cooks] Couple of quick questions for the list....

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Oct 3 10:42:22 PDT 2008

On Oct 3, 2008, at 12:21 PM, Susan Fox wrote:

> On the other hand, I do have the best formula for Scotch Shortbread:
> 1 cup butter [real, salted]
> 2 cups sugar [any kind: brown, white, powdered]
> 1 cup rice flour
> 3 cups all-purpose flour
> Cream butter and sugar, mix in flours.   Pat into pie pan, round  
> cake pan, stoneware mold;  for bake sale purposes, a muffin tin will  
> work, particularly if you make them nice and thick, half an inch at  
> the minimum.  Bake until JUST brown, not too dark.
> These sell well, are not glaringly inappropriate for SCA milieu  
> [like the chocolate chips] and also make a nice base for cheesecake  
> if you are so inclined.
> Selene

This is an excellent recipe; for simple, quick-and-dirty-but-highly- 
effective quantity production I use the one in Gisslen's "Professional  
Baking", which calls for

1.5 pounds unsalted butter
1 pound sugar
1.5 tsp salt
8 oz. egg yolks (approximately 8 large)
optional flavoring such as almond or vanilla extract
2 pounds pastry flour (AP works just fine)

He says Scots shortbread would omit the yolks and flavorings, and yes,  
some of that flour can consist of rice flour and/or almond meal, but  
it's just fine with ordinary AP wheat flour. Mix all into a slightly  
crumbly mass and pat it into your pan, and bake at 350 degrees F. for  
about 15 minutes; I prefer mine to be still moist and not very brown.

I note (and this is why I'm going on like this) that you can take this  
recipe, which makes 4 1/2 or 5 pounds of dough, and fit it _exactly_  
into a parchment-lined half-sheet pan (approximately 12x16 inches,  
what most people use for home baking and erroneously call a cookie  
sheet), mush all this dough down into the pan, top it with another  
sheet of parchment or foil (oiled or squirted with cooking spray where  
it touches the dough), and roll it all down with a large rolling pin,  
using the edges of the pan as your depth/thickness guide (which is why  
you need a large rolling pin) all of which should take you about ten  
or fifteen seconds. Peel off top parchment sheet, poke strategic holes  
and/or score lines as desired (or not, for the minimalists among us),  
and bake. Cut with a sharp serrated bread knife into squares or  
diamonds while still warm, allow to become fully cooled before  
removing from pan.

It's absolutely foolproof and makes about 150 little one-inch cookies,  
even after you allow for over-browned edges, oddly-shaped factory  
rejects, and breakage, all of which will probably disappear pretty  
quickly anyway. One-inch squares don't seem like much, but I challenge  
anyone to eat more than three or four of them at one shot; they are  
extremely rich.

This is one of the things I generally throw together when I get the  
phone call at 11PM asking me to make something for a Laurel Vigil the  
next day, or some such...


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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