(c) A Marcy Goldman, BetterBaking.Com Original Recipe
(Free) Walker Shortbread Techniques
Do you know Walker's Shortbread? It's a classic commercial shortbread imported from Scotland. I used to adore it until I became a shortbread expert in my own right. Here's some tips on making the best shortbread or check out Pure Scottish Shortbread (along with a trick about classic Pie Dough)
Marcy Goldman's BetterBaking.com Shortbread Tricks or Here's to Walker's.....
Around holiday time, I get a lot of email concerning shortbread and requests for 'the best recipe,' especially one that 'tastes like Walker's (of Scotland).
My recipe, The Best Ever Shortbread in A Passion for Baking is pretty close to Walkers – but leave out the rice flour (in my recipe) and double the salt (Walkers has far more salt)
But I have to tell you – I am a big fan of Walkers Shortbread, or I once was. I just always loved that brand. I could never be trusted to be alone with a package of Walker's shortbread. True, I made really good shortbread but always held up Walkers as my ideal shortbread cookie. Then, last year, Costco had a big tin of Walkers on sale. I bought it instantly!
It was a huge tin in a gorgeous red plaid pattern, containing all sorts of shapes of the famed shortbread. What a deal! And then I tasted it. It wasn't what I remembered or maybe it was and I changed. I was so disappointed because compared to my own (unless Walkers changed their recipe for Costco), it was sooooo salty and not at all buttery tasting. I was crestfallen! It was either an altered recipe or I just got far better at Scottish shortbread than my idol was. I realized, I had an impression of Walkers being the best until I became a shortbread expert (here’s the recipe on my site: Pure Scottish Shortbread
For your own great shortbread (I prefer really hard versus crumbly shortbread these days) try different unsalted butters in your area. NOT all butters are equal or bake up the same way.
Also I knead the shortbread dough a lot (but you can knead it less) for a very hard, dense, shortbread. Bake it SLOW and long. 300 F to 325 F would be best for well over an hour.
Last – a trick I do is once it’s out of the oven, I cut/trim the edges for perfectly square edges.
And while we're on the subject, for classic pie crust – any of my recipes work well (and are similar) BUT instead of making the butter fine and the whole dry mixture sandy and grainy leave big chunks of butter in it (the size of small marbles or a bit bigger). The dry mix should be full of big chunks of butter. Then once it’s a dough – and still ‘rough’, fold in in three (like puff pastry or croissant dough) and pat out slightly. Repeat this 4 times and then chill. This will help immensely. Even for me, for years, I was making a fine grainy dry mix. That makes a cookie-like tart crust. BIG chunks of butter left in makes really flaky dough along with the folding technique.
Also again, try out different butters – They aren’t all the same. If you don't believe me, buy a few brands of unsalted butter. Taste them plain and bake up the same recipe with each type and then taste. You'll be astounded - some are just butter (almost plain fat) and some of full-bodied, dairy delicious and the results (in the baked goods) are totally awesome.
Always something new to learn in baking.
© This is a Marcy Goldman/BetterBaking.com original recipe
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