Pat LeMay's Shortbread
1 pound butter
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.