Irish Shortbread

shortbread 039I made these little guys to go with the Irish Coffee Panna Cottas I made a couple of days ago. Shortbread is really a Scottish treat, but my friend, Ireland's own @DailySpud, said that they Rather Enjoy shortbread there. That was all I needed to hear.  I found a good, standard shortbread recipe, and I planned to pretty much follow it, just swapping out Irish butter for Regular butter and tossing in potato starch rather than the more traditional rice flour or corn starch.

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And that is when things went, as they say, Sideways.  To be more exact, I kind went sideways.  I only added half the butter that I was supposed to.  The resulting mixture was was reminiscent of The Sahara.  So, I railed against Fate for a second or two, and then went into Damage Control Mode.  Obviously, this--let's call it dough rather than sand--dough was in dire need of more fat.  I added in some more butter and kept mixing.  I ended up with crumbly mud and declared it better. Next into the mix, 2 egg yolks.  Potting soil.  I was really getting somewhere, now.

I didn't want to add more butter or more yolks, so I looked around and, it being St. Patrick's Day and all, I spied the Bailey's that was out on the counter.  I seized it and added some until it came together in a lovely Actual Dough.  I wasn't overly concerned about gluten development since I had mostly just added fat, and gluten don't care about no fat.  And then, when I added the Bailey's, a certain percentage of that is alcohol, and gluten also turns up its nose at alcohol.  Gluten is much more Selective than you might think.

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And, guess what?  All's well that ends well, because what I ended up with was a thick slab of crunchy, crumbly, buttery, barely sweet, just-salted-enough, hint o'Bailey's goodness shortbread.  The potato starch worked beautifully.

Oh, before you ask, no I did not consult the recipe to double check the measurements until after I finished my Tinkering.  I automatically assumed that I was Blameless.  So, the Hot Potato Blame Game Ensued until it came right back around to me.  First, I blamed the recipe, but no, it wasn't its fault.  And then, I blamed myself for writing the measurements down incorrectly.  But no, I copied them accurately.  The Sideways-ness resulted from my just randomly adding half the butter that I had written down.  That's just how I am sometimes.

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In the end, I was Quite Pleased with my salvaging of this little guy, and I would make him again exactly the same way.  So now, I shall share him with you, in case you find yourself wanting a Little Something to snack upon.

Completely My Fault Irish Shortbread

  • 150g Irish butter
  • 125g powdered sugar
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 150g self rising flour
  • 100g potato starch
  • about 1/4-1/3 teaspoon sea salt (if you have some from an Irish Sea, use it)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • enough Bailey's to make everything come together in a stiff dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until it makes a smooth paste.  Do this on low-ish speed, because you're not trying to beat air into the mixture, just combine the ingredients smoothly.

Whisk the flours and salt together and mix in on low speed until you get what looks like The Sahara.

Add the yolks, and continue mixing thoroughly until you have Potting Soil.

With the mixer still running, slowly pour some Bailey's in a thin stream until the mixture comes together in an Actual Dough.  It's okay if it's a little on the crumbly side, but it should mostly hold together.  I probably used about an ounce or 1 1/2 ounces (28g-40g), but I didn't measure.

Roll it out (or just pat it--that's what I did) to a thickness of 1/4"-1/3" (about 6-8mm).  Cut it however you want, prick it with a fork and bake at 250F for about an hour.  It shouldn't color much at all, except on the bottom, where it should be a lovely light golden brown.  To test it, after about 45 minutes break off a wee piece, let it cool completely and then taste it.  It should be crunchy-crumbly all the way through.  If at all gummy, bake it some more.  My guy was in for probably an hour and 5 minutes.
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  1. says

    I love it when sideways turns out to be the right direction after all! I shall have to procure some potato starch and make some of these fault-free Irish shortbreads, which I am sure I shall Rather Enjoy 😀

  2. says

    That is a fabulous plate in the last photo! Also, the shortbread sounds delightful. I think the potato starch was a very clever addition – I never would have thought of it, but it makes perfect sense.

    • says

      Thanks, Camille–I think it’s supposed to be a candle thingy, but I thought it would be a nice “prop,” so there you go! And the potato starch worked beautifully–crumbly/yummbly cookie!


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