So this is my mom's recipe. I've made other recipes, but still always come back to this one. Maybe that's because it's the one that tastes how I remember shortbread. The official recipe is for double this amount, but I like doing just a half recipe, and even then I always freeze some. It's rich stuff.
Scottish shortbread fingers
1/2 cup butter, left at room temperature (70 degrees F) for about an hour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted and leveled with a knife
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. (I do this with a spoon.)
Stir in the flour. It will look kind of crumbly, like this.
Use your hands to form the dough into a ball, as well as you can. The warmth of your hands will further soften the butter helping it to hold together, somewhat. Put this dough and extra crumbs onto a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, and press it into a block, about 3/4 inch thick, like this. If the dough is just too crumbly and dry, you can microwave all of it in the bowl for about 8 seconds, then try and press together.
Keep working it, until it looks more like this.
Place a second sheet of waxed paper over the rectangle, and use a rolling pin to very gently roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. If it cracks, just press it back together.
Cut off uneven corners and edges, and with your fingers, press these scraps into areas needing more dough. Continue pressing the dough into a rectangle, about 6 inches by 9 inches, with straight edges. (I use a table knife to help get the edges straight, by pressing the edge of the knife against the sides of the dough.) The warmth of your hands will help in forming the dough.
Roll over lightly with waxed paper and rolling pin one more time, to smooth the top. Doesn't have to be perfect as it will even out in baking. If dough breaks at any point, just press it back together with your fingers.
With a long knife (like a bread knife), cut the dough into 24 pieces. The reason you use a long knife is you want to press the knife down into the dough, not draw it through the dough (keeps the pieces neater-looking, this way).
Prick the top surface, lightly, with a fork.
After the dough has been cut and pricked, use a thin, metal spatula (like an offset spatula if you have one) to transfer to an un-greased baking sheet, keeping shortbread pieces about 1/2 inch apart.
Sometimes my dough is just a tad too crumbly and a piece breaks while transferring it to the sheet. I just press it back together, as best as possible.
Bake in a preheated 300 degree F non-convection oven for 20 to 30 minutes, in the center of oven. You don't want the shortbread to brown, but want it to look dry on the surface. Begin checking at 20 minutes, then every 3 to 5 minutes from there. this batch baked for 25 minutes. When the end piece is just beginning to show some caramelization, they're done. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
My apologies that it took me all week to get this posted. I wanted to do more than just type the recipe, but wanted to show pictures of what it will look like at each stage in making the dough, so you wouldn't freak when your dough was more crumbly than any other cookie dough that you've made. And yesterday afternoon was the first chance I had to do some baking. I sure wish I could send some of this to you! Sharing the recipe is the next best thing, though, don't you think?
Anyways, enjoy, if you make it!