Scotch shortbread

I’m impressed with the texture and the taste and the golden color of this shortbread. But I’m most impressed with the ‘perfect points!’  This shortbread cuts easily and yields perfect points in the center.

I stored the shortbread overnight in a tin.  When I lifted the lid of the tin the next day, the rich, buttery aroma drifted up and into my senses much like being enrobed in an old, threadbare, Grandmother – quilt.

The original recipe is from Michael Ruhlman and can be found here.  One of the comments to the original post stated that this shortbread is a delightful compliment to a glass of high-quality, single malt Scotch.  I didn’t have Scotch; I tasted my shortbread with a steaming cup of Tazo black tea.  Delicious!

Be sure you include the rice flour in the batter.  It does make a difference!

sunlight and shadows:

I dusted the top of this shortbread with vanilla sugar immediately after removing from the oven.

let’s compare some ‘sandy’ sables

(the little coffee cup is 2″ tall)


What is a sable?

My CIA notebook has a recipe for Pecan Sables as follows:
cake flour
no egg
3 parts butter
1 part sugar
1 part cream
1.2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake 
(these were very good)
*****
Baking and Pastry from CIA has a recipe for Sand Cookies:
all purpose flour
no egg
2.7 parts butter
1 part powdered sugar
3.8 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
*****
Viking “Around the World Cookie Swap” lists French Sables Korova:
all purpose flour
no egg
chocolate
.8 part flour
1 part butter
1 part sugar
refrigerate, slice and bake
(I remember these cookies melting/dissolving in my mouth upon the first bite.)
*****
Joy of Baking lists sable ingredients as:
all purpose flour
1 parts butter
.7 part sugar
1 egg
2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
*****
Then there is the recipe I followed:
bread flour
1 part butter
.4 part powdered sugar
.2 part egg white
1.1 part flour
pipe with large star tip and bake
I chose this recipe ( ”Butter cookies-sables a la poche-sand in your pocket” found at Baked By Me) because the pictures of the sables on the I Bake What I Like blog were beautiful and quite inspiring.  I didn’t compare ingredient parts (I’ve been reading “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman and now I’m converting everything to …parts!) ;  I just assumed a sable was a sable.  Bread flour is used in this recipe to help the cookies hold their shape when piped with a large star tip.  The cookies did pipe beautifully, and held their shape after baking.  But, the cookies did not dissolve in my mouth as other sables have.  And, the next time I bake these, I would add much more vanilla, or another flavoring. 

As I said, I baked these because they were – pretty.  I have lemon curd in the freezer.  These cookies would be quite tasty sandwiched together with lemon curd. 
(the mini cupcake holder is about 2″ wide)

I still don’t know what a sable should be…but these cookies are so cute!

1-2-3 essence from "Ratio" page 38



A cookbook with math formulas!  What more could an accountant / baker want?

I have to admit, the first time I baked the 1-2-3 Cookie Dough, I used white wheat flour, added orange oil, and threw in chopped Ghirardelli 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate.  I should have added more sugar!  The mixture was very crumbly.  Lesson learned:  ”If it’s crumbly going in, it will probably be crumbley coming out.”  The cookies were bad..just bad.  But, the fault was not that of Mr. Ruhlman’s ratio in his latest book, “Ratio The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.”  
For my second attempt with the ratio, I followed the directions (almost) exactly as the author suggested.  My only deviation was the addition of the seeds from one vanilla bean (don’t! throw that bean away; bury it in a jar of granulated sugar).  The dark, tiny flecks throughout the shortbread cookies added to their charm and simplicity, and taste.  I could have dressed the cookies with drizzles of chocolate, but I let them stand on their own.  They were delicious.  They were not crumbly.  They cut beautifully.  Like the author says, “…you can understand what a cookie is.”
I like to bake shortbread in my 14″ x 4″ tart pan.  It’s easy to remove the cookie, and its easy to cut even slices.

Add this percentage to your book, Mr. Ruhlman –  The cookies get a 100% rating!  I just need more room in the margin for notes!