I had a cookie crisis today during nap time. I really wanted to make us some cookies, but everything I wanted to make (cupcakes, gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies) required eggs, and to my dismay, I used them all up on pancakes this morning.
So, I searched around and found that All Recipes has an egg-free section to the recipe website, and there I found this recipe.
2 cups butter, softened (2 cups butter = 4 sticks of butter)
1 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
2.Cream softened butter thoroughly. ( If using margarine, add four drops of butter flavoring.)
Slowly add sugar.
3.Sift flour and corn starch before adding. Mix well.
Press into an ungreased jelly roll pan 11 x 15 x 1 1/2 inches.
4.Bake 30 minutes or until very light brown. Score and cut while warm.
See where it says "softened" butter up there? Now, I don't represent myself as an expert, or even very experienced baker. But I do know that softened butter is different than melted butter, I just didn't really how to get it that way.
So, I googled "softened butter" and found lots of suggestions, from NOT microwaving it (because it melts it partially), to leaving it sit out on your counter for an hour (I'm not that patient), to rolling it with a rolling pin.
I opted for the last one.
To soften butter right out of the fridge:
Get a sheet of wax paper. Put the stick of butter (unwrapped) on the wax paper and fold the wax paper over top of the stick of butter. Gently roll the butter out flat as if you are rolling dough.
Well, this didn't work for me. The butter was just too hard, and I ended up tearing the wax paper attempting to roll it out.
What works better? Pounding the butter! I just used the rolling pin and pounded the butter out flat. I suppose it would be more proper to use a meat tenderizer mallet thingy, but I don't have one, so I improvised. Worked great! Just remember to peel the butter off the wax paper right when you have it pounded out flat, because if you let the butter sit for a moment or two, it will be much more difficult to peel it off the wax paper into your bowl (yep, you end up scraping it off with a spoon). If you have a wooden mallet, this would be a great job for your child to do (under your supervision!).
Also, I didn't have a jelly roll pan, or if I do, I don't recognize what a jelly roll pan looks like, so I just used a rectangular glass cake pan and pushed the shortbread mixture down flat down with my fingers, then rolled a glass over the top to make it even. I baked mine for 35 minutes, and cut them into bars when I removed them from the oven. Let them cool quite a bit so they firm up and aren't so crumbly before you eat them.
They are everything I like a shortbread cookie to be, flaky and rich at the same time.
I cut mine up into bars, but using a cookie cutter for the holidays would work well, too.
They are great with a cup of coffee, and I imagine even better with a Dulce de Leche!
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