Well, 11 batches of Shortbread later, I think I have come up with a stoneware mold recipe that I am happy with; along with a few tricks with the oven temperature to keep the edges from getting too brown. The texture finally seems right. (or at least the way I have always liked my shortbread) Sandy, with a little bit of a chew too it, but still melts in your mouth. Oozing with butter flavor, lightly sweet with just a hint of a saltiness.
The perfect accompaniment to a cup of Darjeeling or Earl Grey.
Shortbread Petticoat Tails
78 g Cultured European Butter (It's usually Unsalted)
45 g Super Fine Sugar
3/4 tsp Celtic Grey Salt (Kosher Salt will work just fine)
140 g AP Flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the butter until creamy and smooth.
Add Super Fine Sugar and Salt....
Then beat again until light (not fluffy - If you aerate it too much it will try to rise in the oven).
Remove bowl from the mixer and work in the flour with a fork or a spatula.
You want to mix the flour until you achieve a cornmeal like texture.....
That will just barely hold together when squeezed.
Sprinkle the mold with a thin layer of AP Flour.
Pour the crumbly dough into the mold
and press it in, starting at the middle.... and working your way our to the edge,
making sure it's all nice and even in thickness. (it took me a couple times to get this right)
Prick the backside with a fork to allow steam to escape. (there won't be as much if you used the European butter, since it contains less water)
Bake for 5 minutes; then reduce the heat to 275 and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes. (this heats up the stone to get good color, but doesn't allow the butter to over-brown at the edges)
Remove from the oven and let it set for 10 minutes.
Then work around the edge with an offset spatula, just to make sure the sides didn't stick.
Flip the mold over and release the shortbread round.
Slice with a VERY long knife into wedges and let cool completely. (the texture changes dramatically as it cools)
Enjoy with a nice cup of tea, or coffee.
Or simply by itself.... YUM!!!
P.S. For the curious.... Teacup by Duchess Bone China "Thistle" Pattern; side plate by Paragon Bone China, no pattern name that I am aware of.