BETTY'S SHORTBREAD

BETTY'S SHORTBREAD

This recipe makes toothsome, very short, very consistent shortbread. 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup self-rising flour 1 cup cornstarch 1 cup confectioners' sugar 1 1/4 cups butter, softened

Combine flours, cornstarch, confectioners' sugar in large bowl and mix well.

Knead in butter. (Betty does this in a large bowl, but it can also be done on a board.)

Continue until the mixture forms a very smooth ball. (Betty works with it for some minutes and then, using plenty of muscle and her whole hand, she presses the dough together and pushes and turns it against the bowl, repeating this motion 100 times before being sure it is ready. She insists that a shortcut here is a mistake.)

Spread the dough edge to edge in a 9-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Smooth the top, using the paper in which the butter came. (This will produce shortbread about one-inch thick. If you prefer it thinner, use a larger pan.) Prick the shortbread with a fork in straight lines. (Penetrate the surface about 1/8-inch deep.)

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 30 minutes or until just slightly golden (a pale blonde color).

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with caster sugar (or substitute granulated sugar), and cut into 24 "fingers" in the pan. Leave to cool completely.

Lift fingers out of pan, and place on a cookie sheet. The fingers should not touch each other. Bake at 325 degrees F. for five minutes, then turn oven off. (The purpose of this extra baking is to get rid of the "raw bit" in the center of the fingers.)

Let them sit in turned-off oven for 2 to 3 hours.

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