Shortbread is a richly decadent yet very simple style of cookie. One of the most well known styles of shortbread, Scotch shortbread, consists of just 3 ingredients: butter, flour, and sugar. This economy of ingredients is a hallmark of all shortbread. Some might have nuts or spices in them (such as Mexican wedding cookies, almond crescents, or pecan sandies) and a few even contain eggs. Hungarian shortbread dough is made in the same manner as more traditional shortbread but the shaping is unique. Its unusual method of forming makes for a light and tender bar cookie. To further enhance this cookie, a layer of jam or jelly is baked into the shortbread.
Notes about ingredient selection:
Though fruit jams would be traditional in this pastry, any jelly, jam, or marmalade can be used. Jelly will absorb a bit more than jam, making a jelly layer less distinct than a jam layer.
The beauty of shortbread is its simplicity, but because there are so few ingredients used it is important to use high quality ingredients. Butter is not just one of the main ingredients, it is also the main source of flavor, so use the best butter you can find. We love cultured butter.
The shortbread pictured is baked in a long tart pan with a removable bottom but it can be baked in any shape pan. Try also a round tart pan, an 8” or 9”spring form, or an 8 x 8 sq pan. Butter the pan and if it does not have a removable bottom, then line with parchment that overhangs on 2 sides so that you can lift it out of the pan.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup jelly or jam (try Spiced Wine, Blueberry Sage, or Hefeweizen)
- powdered sugar (for dusting)
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
Divide dough into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 30 mins.
Grate 1 disk into the bottom of you baking pan.
Spread evenly with the jam.
Grate the 2nd disk on top of the jam layer. The dough might mound up over the top of the pan but it will settle and sink in the oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until evenly browned and set to the touch (meaning it doesn’t jiggle).
Place on a cooling rack and dust liberally with powdered sugar.
Let 10 minutes cool before trying to cut.