Saturday, May 2, 2009


A delicious shortbread cookie that has only six very common ingredients and makes a ton of cookies, what more can you ask for? This recipe has the classic shortbread taste (sort of like a Lorna Doone cookie but so much better) and it is So simple, you just mix and pat it into a pan and bake.
5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups COLD butter (no substitutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix flour, sugar in large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the dry mixture along with vanilla until it turns into fine crumbs. Pat crumbs into an UNgreased 10” x 15” baking pan. Prick all over with fork tines and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then cut into small squares. Cool to room temperature.
NOTE: I found it way too tiring on the arms to cut the butter into the flour by hand. Instead, I grated it on a cheese grater and mixed it into the flour best I could. Then I transferred the flour butter mixture to my stand mixer and used the whisk attachment on medium high for about 20 seconds…PERFECT crumbs. I am guessing a food processor would work well too. These are SO good.
NOTE: I was not able to poke holes in my cookies right away (the crumbs seemed too dry). I put them in the oven for about 15 minutes and then took them out and poked holes all over the dough with a fork and it worked fine.


Cristine said...

I love shortbread! I'll have to give this recipe a try!

As far as photography goes, I have NO CLUE! :) I will definately be watching your comments to see the responses. I could use some tips! :)

Linda said...

I love shortbread too!

My pictures are hit and miss... as you can see from my Chicken Pot Pie pic... the light just bounced off in a couple spots ... we tried everything... but the pic wouldn't even out the color like it was in real life... very frustrating... so I can relate...

As for the camera... it's a no frills OLD digital.. I'm out of work right now so money is NOT going to things like a new camera but it's on my list when I get back to work...

I would say light is probably the most important... probably one the best pics on my site is one my son took with his phone! The house in NY has white walls.. and is a very "sunny" house.. large windows... I think it(light)makes a huge difference..

As for the background... I've been playing around with that too... I still think I need to work on that... the background behind the pitcher and tulips.. believe it or not is the actual wall paper... it's a textured medium beige... I got the effect using light... trial and error...

My light... don't laugh... is an adjustable desk lamp... again... I won't invest money in new lighting until I have work and I know what I need...

My advice... play around with light and locations... when Warren was away.. I spent hours taking some of the pictures..(ate many a cold meal)... our house here in Georgia is kind of dark.. (men.. I think they'd live in caves if they could)... so for me I have to work on the light...

My best pictures come out when I don't use the flash and rely on natural or artificial light... but my camera is old... about 12 years old.. no bells or whistles.

I wish I could tell you more..I suspect the bloggers that have been blogging a lot longer have better cameras... which helps.

I will watch the comments too... to see what others say.... I could use tips too

Katy ~ said...

Coleen, I love shortbread cookies! YUMMERS!

Right now I only have the flash that comes on my Canon, overhead kitchen lighting, and natural sunlight.

Some bloggers use a separate flash (one friend just bought one for about $300, gulp!) that many professional types use.

I have a friend who takes pictures of her food while standing in her shower stall because of the beautiful diffused light in there.

A light box might be nice to work with; you can make a homemade one; there are instructions on the internet.

For me, some of my favorite pictures on my blog were those taken in the mid-morning light, but with spring/summer here and the direction of the earth's tilt, the light has changed.

Oh, well. Maybe someday I'll get one of those fancy flashes, but in the meantime, I am content with my homespun look.

I'll be interested in what others say as well.

Donna-FFW said...

Better than Lorna Doones, I have to try them. I adore Lorna Doones, prob the only packaged cookie I do like.

As far as photos, I am always looking for tips so I will be watching yours. Sometimes I use my under the counter lighting as a light, no flash ever, and macro setting only. I have directions for a do it yourself lightbox.. Im having my hubby make it this weekend. I can email you the link if youd like, lmk.

Wanda said...

My husband loves shortbread Coleen... so will be trying this recipe.

For flash...just natural light + macro setting.

girlichef said...

This shortbread looks great, I love shortbread!

As far as photography goes, this has been quite a learning process for me as well. I just recently learned about light boxes and hopefully I can make one (or hubby can) one of these days. I use natural light, flash, room lighting- whatever works! The big thing is, I take tons of pictures of each thing so that I'm bound to find just one that I like (though not always). I use my $88. digital that I've had for a number of years now. I hope to get an SLR one day, because that's what I've found lots of the food photography that I adore has been photographed with. Hmmmm...?

Netts Nook said...

I love short bread cookies. About the pictures that is my hardest part. I have found that outside natural light is best. I found a new camera with more pic helped a lot. We have good days and bad.LOL

Heidi said...

What a great looking shortbread cookie. My kids love shortbread cookies, but I'v never tried making them. I will not be afraid to make them because all your recipes I have tried have been wonderful!

As for photography... I'm clueless. I just wing it and hope for the best. I never use flash and usually have good luck if I hold the item under my light that hangs over my table or in front of the window. I usually take 20 pictures and hope 1 ends up being exceptable.

The Cooking Photographer said...

These are beautiful and chunky and rustic and I want a piece for breakfast! Sighhh.

Anonymous said...

These shortbread cookies look really good! I'll have to give this recipe a try.

As for the photography, I use an older digital camera and usually take my pictures in my kitchen with a mix of natural light from the window and overhead lighting. (no flash)
Another thing I do is to edit some of my pictures with Picasa. It's a free photo editing software from Google, and it's really easy to use.

Wandering Coyote said...

I love shortbread!

Re. photography...I have no idea. I know there are so many blogs out there with gorgeous pics, and that's really great, but I try not to worry too much about mine, since that's not my area of expertise. I see lots of good advice here in this comment thread, however...I'll have to keep track to see what comes up!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Colleen, it's a given that any recipe you post is a winner. This one is no exception.

PHOTOGRAPHY- Yes, I know what you mean. There are food bloggers whose photos blow me away-- they are so good.

My amateur tips is that I avoid flash photography and use natural lighting.
Macro is my friend.
I bought a small tripod for $8.00, at Target. That helps to take better shots, especially when twilight means you have to be steady for the shot.

Photo shop is how the pros make pix look good. Photobucket is free and is a simple version of it.

Trust me, I have used Photoshop to make my food look better. Ha! My secret's out!

Oh. I'm taking a digital camera class at my local adult school. It's fun and I'm learning about depth of field and apertures... tricky, but fun.

Barbara Bakes said...

Well your picture of the shortbread definitely looks good! I never use a flash and usually use natural light.

Carrie said...

The shortbread cookies are cute, perfect with the glass of milk!!

My husband is in charge of the pictures for my blog because it makes no sense to me (I am a terrible photographer). He takes every picture on our kitchen table, and in the ceiling light above our kitchen table he put blue light bulbs. I think they are called daylight bulbs. I know he bought the bulbs at Home Depot, so it isn't anything special. He doesn't use a flash on our camera and if it's sunny outside he also opens the windows. Hope this helps! It isn't easy...

teresa said...

I have been scrolling through your comments for good hints because I need all the help I can get! However, I happen to think you post very lovely and appealing pictures.

The shortbread looks SO good, something the simpler, the yummier!

Monica H said...

I love shortbread- it's the essential no frills cookie tht is perfect everytime.

As for the photos- I try and always use natural light. NEVER use flash. I find that if a room is dr, take what you're photographing outside, or put it on a window. However, put your back to the window and let the light hit your food. If you take a picture of your foodwhile you're facing the window sometimes it looks dark because it's too much light.

I use white plates because it's what I have, but I also think it highlights the food. For the background, I sometimes use napkins or scrapbook paper that compliment my dish.

Hope that helps!

Monica H said...

Oh and I use a 9 year old Sony digital. nd I use the macro button often!

Kristen said...

Hi Coleen - I'm so glad you asked this question because I was about too myself. My husband has all sorts of ideas for improving my pictures, like using a contrasting colour somewhere, interesting angles, something else besides the food you are shooting in the picture, but I'm just learning. I am using a special feature on my camera called cuisine setting and I think it is working better than my basic setting, but I am still jealous of some of the shots I see.

Ana Powell said...

Dear Coleen
Photography is a learning process. I use a digital Pentax Optio WP camera, very simple.
To change your background of your pictures, you can use thick paper or cardboard,you can buy it in many colours.
But if you want to edit, frame or change the exposure or colours of your pictures or do many other things I advice you to register with
This site is great and free, if you wish you can upgrad to Picnik Premium but you will have to pay. The normal picnik account is great and I have been using it for nearly a year now and its user friendly. I hope you like it x

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Yummmmmmm shortbread. Coleen, do you ever rest my dear?
I don't have a special devise but I do have a really good Sony flash that works like a charm when needed.
Hope that helps some maybe :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Elyse said...

Hey Coleen! Sorry I'm so late getting around to posting comments, but exams have taken their toll on me (and my google reader)! These shortbread look totally fabulous, and I love how simple the ingredient list is. As for photography, I have a Nikon50. I also have some lights that I purchased from any ole camera supply website (I can look that up for you if you want). As for backgrounds, Risa of Baked Perfection told me that she uses scrapbooking paper for her backgrounds, and I thought that was genius!