Greetings, fellow culinary enthusiasts! It is with great pleasure that I share with you one of my all-time favorite dessert recipes: Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies. As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I can truly attest to the charm and simplicity of this recipe.
But why Irish Shortbread Cookies? Well, aside from the fact that these are just delectable in every sense of the word, these cookies have a special place in Irish and Scottish culture. Shortbread has been a staple dessert for centuries, enjoyed by everyone from bakers to royalty. And as someone who values tradition and heritage, I cannot pass up an opportunity to pay homage to this cherished delicacy.
This particular recipe comes from Margaret Campbell, a renowned baker who learned her craft during WWII while stationed in Ireland. She passed down her passion for baking to her daughter Margaret E. Staniorski, who shared the recipe with the world in her cookbook titled “51 Irish Butter Cookie Recipes”. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ingredients and method for creating these beloved treats!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you craving something sweet and buttery that’s easy to make, but will impress even the pickiest of eaters? Look no further than Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies!
These cookies are a perfect treat for any occasion, from afternoon tea to dessert after dinner. The buttery flavor and crumbly texture are sure to please both kids and adults alike. And with their simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, even novice bakers can whip up a batch in no time.
One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility. While it’s traditionally known as Irish Shortbread, it’s similar to Scottish shortbread as well. Plus, with the addition of semolina flour and cornflour, these cookies have a unique flavor that sets them apart from other shortbread recipes.
Looking for recipe ideas for 2023? These cookies will be just as delicious then as they are now. And if you’re a fan of Ted Lasso, you’ll appreciate these cookies as much as Margaret E. Staniorski did when she developed this recipe over 50 years ago.
Trust me, once you try Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies, you’ll want to add them to your list of go-to cookie recipes alongside Bordeaux and Walkers Shortbread. So grab some unbleached flour, semolina flour, cornflour, confectioners’ sugar, and sweet butter and get ready to enjoy a delicious treat that even Queen Elizabeth would approve of!
Here is a complete list of ingredients you’ll need to make Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted sweet butter (Irish butter is preferred)
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup semolina flour
- ½ cup cornflour
- A pinch of salt
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have all the necessary ingredients prepared, let’s dive into creating the star of this recipe: Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies.
Preheat and Prepare
First, preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C) and prepare a 9×13 inch pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Next, start mixing together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 cups of unsalted butter, 2 cups of unbleached flour, 1 cup of semolina flour, and 1/2 cup of cornflour in a large bowl. I recommend using high-quality ingredients like Irish butter, specifically Margaret Campbell Irish Butter, to really enhance the flavor.
Once everything is well-combined, knead the dough with your hands until it becomes smooth and firm. This will take approximately 5-10 minutes.
Spread in Pan
Spread out the dough evenly in your prepared pan, making sure to reach all corners. Use your fingertips or a fork to make small perforations on top of the dough. This will help prevent air bubbles from forming while baking.
Bake in preheated oven for around 45 minutes or until lightly golden-brown on top. Start checking around 30 minutes mark to avoid over-browning.
Cut into Pieces
Allow it to cool before cutting into pieces. As much as you want to immediately dig into this glorious piece of shortbread heaven, it’s important to let them rest for a bit before indulging. Once they’re cool enough, use a sharp knife to carefully cut them into bars or shapes you desire.
That’s it! Easy-peasy. These cookies are sure to impress even the pickiest shortbread connoisseur.
Substitutions and Variations
Are you feeling adventurous and want to try some variations on the classic Irish Shortbread Cookies recipe? Here are some ideas that can take your cookies to the next level!
1. Swap in Different Flours: While the original recipe calls for a mixture of all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and cornflour, you can mix it up by trying different combinations of flours to achieve different textures or tastes. For example, using unbleached flour instead of all-purpose flour will give your shortbread a bit of a nuttier taste.
2. Play with Sugar: Instead of confectioners’ sugar, try experimenting with different types of sugars for a more unique flavor. Brown sugar or turbinado sugar can add a caramel flavor while demerara sugar can give your cookies a slight crunch.
3. Use Different Butters: Margaret Campbell’s recipe calls for sweet butter, but you can substitute it with Irish butter, which has a higher fat content and richer flavor. You can also try using salted butter for a bit of extra savory kick.
4. Add Flavors: Adding cinnamon to your shortbread dough will make your cookies perfect for fall, while adding chocolate chips or finely chopped nuts will add some texture and depth of flavor.
5. Cut Your Cookies Differently: Instead of slicing them into traditional wedges, try using cookie cutters in fun shapes like stars or hearts to make festive cookies for special occasions.
No matter how you choose to spice up your Irish Shortbread Cookies, always remember to keep an eye on your cooking time and temperature as variations may alter your baking time!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing irish shortbread cookies, the possibilities are endless. These buttery treats are perfect for any occasion and pair well with a variety of beverages.
If you’re looking for a classic pairing, a cup of tea is the perfect match for these cookies. The smooth texture of the cookie complements the warm and comforting flavors of a cup of tea. For a stronger brew, try an Irish breakfast tea or Scottish breakfast tea to really bring out the rich flavors of these shortbread cookies.
If you’re in the mood for something stronger, try serving these cookies with a glass of your favorite dessert wine. A sweet Bordeaux or port pairs perfectly with the buttery sweetness of these cookies. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, a glass of milk or hot chocolate makes for a delicious pairing as well.
These cookies are versatile enough to be served alone as a snack or as part of dessert. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and serve on a platter at your next party or gathering. Or try pairing them with ice cream or whipped cream for an indulgent after-dinner treat.
Overall, the serving and pairing options for Margaret Campbell’s Irish shortbread cookies are endless. So get creative and let your taste buds guide you in discovering new and exciting combinations.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
The great thing about Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies is how easy it is to make them ahead of time, store them, and reheat them whenever you’re ready. These cookies can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
To ensure freshness of the cookies, make sure the container is sealed tightly. If you are planning on storing them for a longer period of time, up to a month or more, it is best to store them in the freezer. They will retain their flavor for a longer period of time if you choose this storage option.
The process of reheating these cookies is very simple. You can either leave them at room temperature an hour before serving, or reheat them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 5 minutes. Be sure to avoid over-baking or they will end up dry and crispy.
Whether you choose to serve these cookies fresh out of the oven or after storing them, they will always have that delicious buttery taste that Irish shortbread has become famous for. So be sure to follow these simple make-ahead, storing and reheating tips and your cookies will taste as good as new every time!
Tips for Perfect Results
Meticulous preparation, top-notch ingredients, and a little bit of patience can help you bake the perfect Irish shortbread cookies. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare this classic recipe.
First, be mindful of the ingredients you are using. Using high-quality unbleached flour, semolina flour, and cornflour can take your cookies to the next level. Also, authentic Irish butter like 51 Irish butter or Kerrygold brand adds a true Irish touch to these cookies.
Another key tip is to cream your sugar and butter together for about 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy. This ensures that the sugar crystals dissolve completely and guarantees that the flavor is unbeatable.
Additionally, chilling the dough for at least an hour prior to baking helps to prevent spreading and ensures a perfect texture. The longer you chill it, the better it will hold its shape when baked.
When rolling out your cookie dough, make sure it’s evenly distributed in thickness by measuring with a ruler or using guide sticks. This will ensure uniform cookies that bake evenly.
It’s worth noting that if you find your dough too sticky to work with, dust your hands and counter lightly with confectioner’s sugar or plain flour to avoid over-handling the dough with extra flour or moisture.
Finally, don’t over-bake your cookies! They should only be lightly golden brown around the edges when done as they continue to bake while cooling on the tray. For a gooey center, eat them fresh from the oven, but if you like them crispier then allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before storing them in an airtight container.
By following these tips and making a few minor adjustments along the way, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautifully crafted Irish shortbread cookies that taste just as good as they look!
In conclusion, Margaret Campbell’s recipe for Irish shortbread cookies is a must-try for anyone who loves the warm, buttery goodness of shortbread. With its simple ingredient list and easy-to-follow instructions, it’s a classic recipe that has been passed down and perfected over generations.
Whether you enjoy it on its own, paired with a cup of tea or coffee, or as a base for other dessert creations, this Irish shortbread cookie recipe is sure to please. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why it’s been a favorite in Scotland, Ireland, and beyond.
With its delicious flavors and rich heritage, this recipe will transport you straight to the lush green hills of Ireland. It’s the perfect treat for any occasion – from holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas to everyday indulgences that will make you feel like royalty.
So go ahead, grab your unbleached flour and sweet butter, and get baking – who knows? You might even catch the eye of Ted Lasso himself with your baking prowess.
Margaret Campbell’s Irish Shortbread Cookies Recipe
- 1 lb sweet butter
- 1/2 lb confectioners' sugar
- 4 ounces cornflour (check near cornmeal in the market)
- 4 ounces semolina flour
- 1 lb unbleached flour
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment, if available.
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Mix in flours.
- Roll out to 1/4" on a floured surface.
- Cut into rectangles using a sharp knife or better yet, a ravioli/pie cutter with the wavy edge.
- Tranfer onto a lined cookie sheet, leaving 1/2" between cookies.
- Poke cookies with a fork and sprinkle with sugar (or even cinnamon sugar).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
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Brian is a British chef cum food blogger who has been in the kitchen since he was a young lad. Growing up in Manchester, he developed a passion for cooking and a keen eye for the perfect dish. He now runs his own blog and YouTube channel, which is dedicated to sharing his passion for food with the world.