I used a recipe straight out of my King Arthur Cookie Companion last week to make these traditional shortbread cookies. Their recipe is fantastic and very basic: flour, butter, sugar and salt.
Shortbread was originally a scottish invention that used yeast instead of butter because it was essentially a way of cooking leftover bread dough. I can’t imagine it without the butter–no flavor, no flake, how dreadful. Traditional shortbread is cooked one of three ways: in a round pan and then cut into wedges, long rectangular fingers or round cookies.
I baked my shortbread primarily for use in another project so I went with the simple round pan. After the cookies bake, but before they have a chance to completely cool, you remove the round and slice into wedges. This style of cookie was supposedly so popular with Mary-Queen of Scots that eventually a variation flavored with caraway seeds, cut into wedges, became known as Petticoat Tails
What were the shortbread cookies for? You’ll see…. Hint: it includes cream cheese and mangos!