Big-Batch Gifts: Easy Shortbread, Chocolate Hark, and Caramel Sauce to Give-And Devour!

By Johnson, Elaine | Sunset, December 2016 | Go to article overview

Big-Batch Gifts: Easy Shortbread, Chocolate Hark, and Caramel Sauce to Give-And Devour!


Johnson, Elaine, Sunset


BEST-EVER SHORTBREAD

There is shortbread, and then there's this shortbread, ultra-buttery with a light crunch. The secrets are rice flour for the sandy texture and a slow-and-low baking process to develop the flavor. It's a recipe that lends itself to easy, festive rifling (sprinkles! snowflakes!)--and one you'll be happy to have in your back pocket for years.

SHEET PAN SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD
MAKES 68 1- BY 3-IN. BARS OR 48 2-IN.
SQUARES / 1 3/4 HOURS, PLUS 1 1/2 HOURS
TO COOL

1 1/4 lbs. (5 sticks) salted butter, at room
  temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups white rice flour, like Bob's Red Mill
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. coarse white sparkling sugar

1. Preheat oven to 275[degrees]. In a stand mixer,
beat butter and granulated sugar on medium
speed with paddle attachment until
well blended and fluffy. Add rice flour
and beat on low speed until incorporated,
scraping bowl as needed. Gradually
add all-purpose flour; beat on low until
blended, scraping bowl occasionally.

2. Line a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet
with parchment paper. Press dough into
pan until very even and smooth. Bake
until shortbread is golden in center, 60 to
65 minutes. Reduce oven to 250[degrees], drape
shortbread with parchment paper, and
continue to bake until a finger pressed
lightly into center of dough leaves no
imprint, 20 to 25 minutes more.

3. Set shortbread on a cooling rack and
sprinkle with sparkling sugar. While
hot, cut into 1- by 3-in. rectangles or
2-in. squares (use a wooden ruler). Let
cool completely in pan. After it cools,
if you find that you'd like it crunchier,
pop pan into a 250[degrees] oven, covered with
parchment, for about 20 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD Airtight at room temperature,
up to 1 week, or frozen, up to 3 months.

PER RECTANGULAR COOKIE 113 Cal., 54% (61 Cal.)
from fat; 1 g protein; o.9 g fat (4.3 g sat.); 12 g carbo
(0.3 g fiber); 48 mg sodium; 1 8 mg chol. LS/V

VARIATIONS

SPRINKLE-TOP SHORTBREAD BITES
MAKES 204/ 1 3/4 HOURS, PLUS 1 1/2 HOURS
TO COOL

At the end of step 1, add 6 tbsp. rainbow
nonpareils (tiny round sprinkles) to dough.
Top baked shortbread with 1/4 cup coarse
green sparkling sugar instead of white sparkling
sugar. Carefully cut hot dough into 1-in.
squares, then cool completely in pan.

SPECULAAS SNOWFLAKES
MAKES 45/6 HOURS

Decrease granulated sugar in dough to 1/2 cup
and add 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar. … 

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