Here's a present from me to you--my grandmother's shortbread recipe. It's a Christmas tradition in our family. When I took some to our dentist's office yesterday, our dentist broke his year-long diet to eat one (to the delight of his staff--they were tired of it I guess). Wow! So I share it with you because it's one of my favorite things, always reminding me of my grandmother who has been gone about 16 years. I miss her.
Nana's Scotch Shortbread
Very easy to make. (Don't be frightened by the soft dough--I roll it out on a cutting board and put it in the fridge until just before cutting the cookies out and putting them on the cookie sheet.)
1 c. butter (2 cubes)--never use margarine
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. corn starch
Mix thoroughly. Roll out about 1/4-1/2" thick (use a mixture of flour, powdered sugar and corn starch for flouring the board and rolling pin to avoid a floury taste). Cut in about 1" squares. Mark each square with rows of dots using the tines of a fork (I think this is actually to avoid air bubbles on the surface--but it's the traditional design. It's always reminded me of the windows of the apartment building my grandmother lived in.) Since it rolls out in a round shape, some of the cookies will be kind of triangular. The smaller cookies should go in the center of the cookie sheet, and the points of the triangles should be directed toward the center, because they cook first. The thickest and largest cookies should be those closest to the corners of the cookie sheet. These cookies don't spread much, so you can put them fairly close together. Bake 10-12 minutes until the outside corners of the edge cookies turn a little bit golden brown. Don't wait for them all to turn dark, that will be overbaking--they may be fairly white when you pull them out but shouldn't look moist. Store them in a cookie tin or other sealed container, at room temperature, and not with other cookies or they will absorb the flavors. They develop a mellow taste with time; I like them new or old.