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The Real Deal: Nanny Teer's Century-Old Irish Shortbread Recipe

This is not the shortbread you get at the supermarket. Shortbread should have a melt-in-your-mouth texture, but at the same time have substance. Walkers shortbread and the other various brands out there are a sugar-filled shadow of what shortbread originally was.

You know how people always say, “This isn’t your grandmother’s (fill in the blank)”? Well, this is my grandmother’s shortbread. My great-grandmothers, in fact – and it rocks. Nanny Teer was Belfast-born, and her shortbread has been made for at least 100 years that I know of.

I can guess what you are thinking. Isn’t shortbread Scottish? Well, yes. Although originally from Scotland, the close proximity of Scotland to Northern Ireland means that, over time, all manner of things have been passed back and forth between them. Recipes are one such thing, and this is one of those recipes.

Nanny Teer's Shortbread

Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F

Baking Tools.jpg


1 pound softened butter

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add flour and baking powder gradually to create the dough. (Although you can use a stand mixer for this, I find it best to do by hand.) It should look something like this:

Shortbread Raw.jpg

Due to the high butter content of this dough, I usually sprinkle a bit of flour over the finished dough to make it easy to handle.

Place dough on a large cookie sheet. (I sometimes use a large cookie sheet with a lip because the baking powder makes the dough rise a bit.) Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle, making sure the edges are even. Thin edges invite early browning and burning! Using a fork, press a decorative border into the dough.

Shortbread on Tray.jpg

Cook shortbread for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven) until firm and slightly golden in color. This is not a baked good you can put in the oven and walk away from. I know from experience that when it burns, it burns quickly, and sometimes it even oversteps the cookie sheet boundaries in the oven and spills over. As long as you watch what it's doing you should be fine.

If the edges become elongated during the cooking process, simply “cut off the ugly,” as Nanny Teer always said, and save them as a treat for later (they still taste delicious!).

When finished, let the shortbread cool, then cut into rectangles approximately 2x1 inches.

Serve and Enjoy!

Shortbread Finished.jpg

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