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Shortbread Petticoat Tails
From The Art of Scottish-American Cooking, by Kay Shaw Nelson

This flat round of shortbread has a central circle and the rest divided into wedges to represent the skirt panels of women's petticoats of the 19th century, hence the name.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
Confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually sift in flour, cornstarch, and salt, mixing. Combine thoroughly, preferably with the fingers or a wooden spoon, until the mixture is uniformly crumbly and can be pressed together to form a ball.

Place in the center of a lightly floured ungreased baking sheet. Roll or pat into a circle to a 1/8-inch thickness. With a floured cookie cutter or glass, cut out a 3-inch round in the center. Do not remove. With a floured sharp knife, cut the outer circle into 8 wedges to form "petticoat tails." Prick all over the top with a fork. In a preheated 300°F- (175°C-) oven, bake for about 20 minutes, until sandy white and firm to the touch. With a spatula, remove at once to a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. To serve, arrange wedges around the center round on a serving plate.

Yield: Makes 8 wedges and 1 round.

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