Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive when bloggers of all stripes weigh in on the same topic in something called a Blog Off. The topic of the current Blog Off is "cookies."
I love shortbread with something that borders on an obsession and I played around with if for years until I perfected a recipe that produces a buttery, somewhat salty, somewhat sweet and perfectly sand textured shortbread. The ingredients couldn't be simpler, the art to this one comes from the perfect oven temperature and time spent therein.
I used to try to make these with a spoon, but they have to be of a uniform thickness or they won't have the right texture. On a lark I bought a cookie gun one year and it yielded the perfect shortbread cookie. Who knew? Some people call them cookie presses, but I call it a cookie gun. It makes me feel more macho that way.
Anyhow, I bought a Wilton Cookie Press (gun! it's a gun!) Pro Ultra 2. It's perfect --plenty of shapes and it's easy to load and clean.
My Ultimate Shortbread
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch them like a hawk. Pull them out of the oven at precisely 8 minutes or they will scorch. Once they're out of the oven let them cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar while they are still hot if you'd like.
That recipe will make enough shortbread to feed an army but fear not. Take the extras, throw them in a food processor, grind 'em up and make an amazing crust for a cheesecake.