THINGS I LIKE: Pat LeMay's Shortbread.

When I retired and moved to Red Bank, NJ  from Cincinnati, OH,  Pat LeMay became my next door neighbor. Pat comes from a Scottish backround (Clan Napier) and  bakes Shortbread* as part of her family tradition. The family tradition is to bake Shortbread only for funerals and at Christmas. Pat has become a great friend as well as a neighbor. Fortunately for me, I never had to have Shortbread baked for me  for the first of Pat's family traditions but have been the recipient of her delicious Shortbread for the past several Christmases. I would like to share her recipe with you. The family recipe, which came from Paisley, Scotland and was brought to the U.S on the ship, "New Caledonia"in 1930, follows:

Pat LeMay's Shortbread

1 pound butter
1C sugar
4C flour

In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar and one cup of flour..Work in remaining flour, one cup at a time, until the consistency of pie dough is reached  and shape into a ball.

Press dough into an ungreased "sided" cookie sheet until the pan is full. Prick all over with a fork, a process called,"docking".

Bake at 325F for one hour. Remove from oven and slice into pieces in the pan. Let cool in pan before removing.

Pat's Tips for Perfect Shortbread

Bake using a new cookie sheet or one that is used ONLY for Shortbread.
Bake on middle oven rack.
Bake only one batch at a time.

If you don't follow the rules, it won't come out right.

*Shortbread is a crumbly textured cookie of Scottish origin that evolved from  medieval bisquit bread; a yeast raised, twice baked bread, dusted with sugar and spices and allowed to harden. Eventually, butter (shortening) replaced yeast. The high butter to flour ratio in Shortbread retards gluten formation; short strands of proteins in flour which bind together to form long strands. Keeping the protein strands short results in a tender rather than a tough dough; hence, "shortbread". Originally, Shortbread was classified as a bisquit but this classification was opposed, vigorously, by early Shortbread bakers to avoid paying a government tax on bisquits. THE BAKERS WON!!! Scottish Shortbread is the forerunner of all subsequent butter cookies. As opposed to the Napier family tradition of when Shortbread is baked, other Scottish families bake them for weddings, New Years Eve and other festive occasions.