I guess this is really Michelle Obama’s shortbread recipe. It’s hard to know what’s true these days, but this recipe was supposedly submitted to Family Circle back when Family Circle did their First Lady cookie bake-off. Subsequently, the Ritz Hotel in DC took Mrs. Obama’s recipe and made it for guests in town for the inauguration.
Here’s the recipe in an old article from the Huff Post. I’ve put an adapted version of Michelle Obama’s Shortbread below in case this link breaks. If you are a shortbread lover and you try the recipe, let us know how it is. I haven’t yet made this for some reason, but it sounds good with the Amaretto, orange and lemon zest.
I Finally Made It
I’ve had the Michell Obama shortbread recipe for a while and finally tried it. Its a little different from crumbly, fine-textured shortbread. This shortbread is very thin, a little softer, and almost like eating a sweet, flaky, buttery almond, orange and lemon flavored pie pastry. The flavor is incredibly buttery and the orange and lemon are a nice touch. The Amaretto is subtle, but I wouldn’t leave it out because even a small amount of alcohol affects the flavor and texture. But I do think a small dash of almond extract would be a decent substitute.
After I made this using the recipe below, which is the one from the Ritz Carlton and Huffington Post, I noticed there was another version floating around that makes a larger pan size, calls for cake flour and has different bake times. The ratios are pretty similar and the pictures of the shortbread look a lot like this one. Maybe I’ll try that one too, but I’m more than happy with this one. It is unique.
You can easily make the Michelle Obama shortbread recipe gluten-free. I tried it (because I am now in love with this recipe) with Cup4Cup in place of flour and it worked just fine. I actually made 1/3 of the batch and baked it in a 1/8 sheet pan.
Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (I recommend salted) (230 grams)**
- 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
- 1 large egg separated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto
- ¼ teaspoon salt (I'd probably use more like 3/4 teaspoon)**
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 2 cups flour (270 grams)
- ¾ cup slivered almonds (sliced okay, too)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Have ready an ungreased 10×15 inch jelly roll pan. If you plan on transferring the shortbread to a different surface to cut it, you may want to line it with parchment paper.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes).
- Slowly add egg yolk, Amaretto, salt, orange and lemon rind, mixing well.
- Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir by hand until mixture is well blended.
- Pat the mixture into an even layer in the pan. This is a much thinner shortbread than most.
- Whisk the egg white until foamy, then brush on top of dough. Sprinkle with almonds.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until lightly browned.
- Cool slightly and cut into two inch squares while still warm.
- Yield: 40 squares
Thanks Katrina…I’m going to be making these next weekend!
I’m going to type the recipe exactly as I received it, the demonstrator did not give a source. She said adding a zest is good, but not traditional and that these are supposed to be crisp. They were, but very buttery and light and really good! Kevin at Closet Cooking did a shortbread in Dec. that was similar to this one, but my recipe has a whole cup of flour more than his did, otherwise, they were the same ingredients and same amounts. Hmm. His look great! Just like the ones I tasted, but mine were cut from a round pan in traditional triangles. http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/2008/12/shortbread.html
Scottish Shortbread Fans
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but room temp
4 oz. (1/2 cup plus 1 T.) sugar
12 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Using your hands or the paddle attachment on your mixer, work in the flour and salt until the dough holds together then squeezed. Divid the dough between 2 ungreased 8-inch cake pans. Press into a firm, even layer. In each pan, use the tines of a fork to press 1/2-inch lines radiating like the rays of sun all around the edge of the dough. Score the dough into 12 or 16 wedges and prick each wedge with a fork, pricking all the way through the dough. (You want scored lines to make cutting easier–the lady demo-ing actually used a ruler and was very precise.)
Bake in a preheated 275 degree oven until set and beginning to turn a light golden color, about 50-60 minutes. Cool the cookies in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully take the “cake” out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges along the markings while still warm. Cool completely on racks. Store airtight.
Makes 24 to 32 shortbread fans.
Katrina, I’d love to have your recipe if you would share it!
I have always wanted to make shortbread but just never have. I will have to check out that recipe!
The shortbread cookie recipe was actually the loser of the Family Circle contest …
Since the contest started in 1992, the winner of the contest had their spouse win th presidential election …
The contest had been considered a bell weather … But, something went wrong this time around with the election …
I’m hoping to hear some comments too. It’s unusual for true shortbread cookies to have an egg in the recipe. They sure do look good tho.
Good shortbread can be sooo goood!
At the cookie demo class I went to back in Dec., the lady gave us a recipe for and showed us AND we tasted an amazing shortbread cookie. It’s the real authentic kind. If you want that recipe (anyone), let me know. I’m sure they are all similar. I should go find it and compare to this Ritz one.
I’ve always had this question on my mind, and whom to better ask than the cookie expert? 🙂
So my question is: is there a difference between a shortbread cookie and a shortbread biscuit?