I’m generally skeptical of any dessert recipe that’s comprised of a minimal number of ingredients. Seriously, how decadent can a two-ingredient brownie be? And, single-ingredient ice cream? Come on, that’s nothing more than frozen fruit! If I’m going to indulge, it might as well be worth the effort.
So you can imagine my dismay when an exhaustive recipe search for a favorite holiday cookie resulted in — wouldn’t you know it — a three ingredient recipe! It didn’t seem possible. How could Scotch Shortbread — those melt-in-your-mouth, delightfully buttery biscuits — contain so few ingredients?
The secret, I found, is quality. When a shortbread recipe calls for nothing more than butter, sugar and flour, there’s no room for compromise. For the best flavor, use an unrefined dark brown sugar (muscavado is a great choice) and a rich creamy butter made from grass-fed cow’s milk.
Traditional shortbread is made in a specific shortbread pan or mold and then divided into slices like a pizza, but strips of shortbread, known as fingers, are easier to make and just as tasty.
If you want to get fancy you can add a pinch of salt or a dash of vanilla, but why bother? The beauty of the shortbread cookie is in its simplicity. It doesn’t need to be slathered with thick, fudgy icing or dotted with chocolate chips; it is perfect the way it is.
Three-Ingredient Scotch Shortbread Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour, until just incorporated. (The dough will be crumbly.)
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for three minutes until dough is smooth. (Do not overwork the dough – the less handling the better.)
- Roll or pat into a rectangle - ⅓” thick.
- Cut into 2” x 1” strips and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Prick with a fork and bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes or until bottoms of the cookies are lightly brown.
- Cool and enjoy with a spot of tea!
Are you a minimalist baker? Now, for my public mea culpa to all of those minimal ingredient recipes; I have since tried this recipe and it is freakin’ amazing! —Karen