Flour + Sugar + Butter = Shortbread

One of my classmates was here a few weeks ago and he looked into my empty fridge and said, “If you’re such a gourmet, why isn’t there any food in your refrigerator?”

His point is well taken. Now that I live alone, it’s like I have no idea what goes into a fridge. When I moved in with Lauren two years ago, her fridge already had all the usual fridge stuff—the pickles, the ketchup, the cheese, the fungus growing in the back. I have that too, but the fridge still seems barren.

Maybe the problem is accessibility—I don’t live incredibly close to a grocery store except for Whole Foods which is mighty expensive. So I tend to wait until I have a recipe and then shop for that recipe. When I do go to the generic grocery story–Gristede’s–I buy the basics: flour, sugar, butter.

And that’s what I had to work with tonight when I had a craving for something sweet. Naturally, flipped open my Barefoot Contessa book and found her recipe for shortbread cookies. Very easy indeed.

Put butter in mixer (3/4 lbs). Add 1 cup sugar. Mix until blended. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Beat. Then sift 3.5 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt into the butter/sugar and mix until dough comes together. Flatten into a disc, cover in plastic and refrigerate.*

*NOTE: I divided the dough in half, wrapping each in plastic, and put one in the freezer for future use. Thus the yield here is less than if you used the whole dough.

30 minutes later roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out heart-shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. I improvised with my poor-man’s cookie cutter:


Got six out of the first roll:


Two out of the remainder. (For those slow on math, that makes eight.)

Put them on my Silpat and sprinkled with sugar. Put them in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until edges were brown:


How easy! How fun! Tasted like sweet sugary biscuits. Just what the doctor ordered and only three ingredients. (Four if you count salt.) Now that’s what I call living…

11 thoughts on “Flour + Sugar + Butter = Shortbread”

  1. I like the “poor man’s” cookie cutter. Very creative. If there is strange mold in your fridge, it might be because of the peach I left in there over 1 month ago. By the way, my fridge is still stocked with food… and strange forms of mold.

  2. Adam, they look delicious. I make shortbread but I substitute the liquid from marascino cherries for the vanilla and then I top each cookie with a 1/2 maraschino cherry in the middle. Mmm, they’re good!

  3. Dude! Fresh Direct.com. I always use them when I want to get a bunch of heavy stuff I can’t carry home. And the prices are fair. I don’t know if they still have the first-time $50 of free food offer but it’s worth a look…

  4. haha… i’m so lucky i found this! i was craving something sweet, and basically these are the only things in my fridge right now too (discounting celery and half a pitcher of iced green tea… oh, and some salmon…) do you enjoy the barefoot contessa’s cookbook? i work at a bookstore and have been eyeing up that particular cookbook for some weeks now… say ‘yea’ and i may just buy it as a christmas present for myself ;D

  5. I was looking for a shortbread recipe as i have made shortbread at school once. When i brought it home my family kept asking me to make more. So i made it once more last christmas and they loved it. Now they have started to ask again for this wonderful treat. My mind had gone blank thanks alot for reminding me and by the way i am scottish and as you will now we are big into shortbread thanks for sticking to the trational scottish version unlike some of the other sites i have been on.

  6. How long can I keep shortbread dough in the fridge. The recipe says chill for 1 hour! can I leave it in there for a day or 2 and then make my cookies??

  7. I was looking for a simple recipe because it was late at niight and i wanted something for my sweet tooth, and i didn’t have eggs. So I went on the web and this is what I found. Thanks it was really good

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