A Conversation for Shortbread Cookies the Easy Way

Oh, dear

Post 1

Cheerful Dragon

A number of points:

1) What's wrong with ounces, or even grammes? Why does it have to be cups? Have you ever tried measuring a 'cup' of butter? I know that a cup is 8 or 10 ounces, depending on where you are, but the capacity to dry weight conversion doesn't always work!

2) A true shortbread recipe works on the '1-2-3' principle. 1 of sugar, 2 of fat (usually butter), 3 of flour. This recipe has the '1-2', but the '3' is a little off. I use 2oz sugar, 4oz butter, 6oz flour.

3) Oven temperature should be given in 3 different values: 2 for electric (Celsius and Fahrenheit) and one for gas. Reading between the lines I'd say the author could be American and/or has never encountered a gas cooker.

Other than that, a nice simple recipe. I might even try it, when I get off my diet.smiley - winkeye


Oh, dear

Post 2

Wampus

Well, American butter packages usually have marks on the wrappers to facilitate measuring butter to exact amounts. Most of the wrappers I've seen have marks for one tablespoon, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, etc., and most standard sticks of butter are 1/2 a cup.

So one cup of butter is 2 standard sticks.

And being American, I've never encountered a gas cooker such as you describe. All the ovens I've ever seen measured cooking power in temperature, not gas settings. If you've got a conversion from temperature to gas setting, by all means, I'd be interested in seeing it.


Oh, dear

Post 3

Cheerful Dragon

Here in Britain, some (but not all) packs of butter are marked in weights. In the old days of Imperial measurements it was 2oz increments; after things went metric it was 50g. Snag is, the butter has to be lined up exactly right on the paper, otherwise the marks are wrong and you don't get the right quantity. If it's true over here, it's true in the States. I would always prefer weigh my butter for that reason.

I don't know how things are in the States, but here in Britain we have had electric ovens marked in Celsius and Fahrenheit, and gas ovens marked in their own way. I was going to give you a conversion table, but H2G2 screwed up the table.


Oh, dear

Post 4

Cheerful Dragon

PS And any decent British cookery book will either give all three oven settings with an recipe, or will have a conversion table. Some will even do both!


Oh, dear

Post 5

dElaphant (and Zeppo his dog (and Gummo, Zeppos dog)) - Left my apostrophes at the BBC

I think the butter measurement is working out to be about the same on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, butter is sold by the pound, quartered and marked as above. So the 1 cup = 2 sticks = half a pound.

And all of our ovens, except for microwaves, are marked in Fahrenheit only. Americans committed to changing to the metric system in the mid-1970s. So far, soda is sold in liter bottles (but 12 ounce cans). We don't want to rush things, I guess.


Oh, dear

Post 6

Tashalls, Muse of Flights of Fancy (Losing Weight at A858170)

Apologies in throwing another fly in the ointment - but Australian sticks of butter are marked in grams, a standard stick being 250g. So how many sticks would this equal in the ounce/cup stakes?


Oh, dear

Post 7

Cheerful Dragon

1 ounce = 28g (approximately), so if you wanted to use the whole block of butter, you have about 8.9 ounces. That's just over 1 US cup and 1 ounce short of an Imperial cup.

The most common, and easiest, conversion between grammes and ounces is '1 ounce = 25g'. This is obviously not an exact conversion, which is why recipe books always say you should never mix ounce and gramme quantities.

PS If a standard stick is 250g, how big are your packs of butter?


Oh, dear

Post 8

Tashalls, Muse of Flights of Fancy (Losing Weight at A858170)

I don't think I've seen a "pack of butter". There is usually just the 250g blocks of butter stacked in the dairy fridge at the local supermarket.

But I suppose there would HAVE to be a larger size for the sake of consumer choice smiley - winkeye

sorry I can't be more helpful


Oh, dear

Post 9

Bobin' Along (with the flow)

It won't help for converting between the metric system (which the Brits use) and the British system (which the Yanks use), but for measuring unmarked butter, here's my Mom's method.

Use a glass measuring cup, at least twice the size of the amount of butter (lard, shortning, whatever) needed. Fill to the top line, minus the amount of butter needed. For example, measuring 2/3 cup of butter, put 1 1/3 cups of water in a 2 cup measure.

Scoop an approximate amount of butter into the water, and press it down until just submerged. Observe the waterline. When the waterline is at the Full line the correct amount is measured.


Oh, dear

Post 10

Cheerful Dragon

That has to be the most convoluted and inexact methods of measuring I've ever come across. (OK, my mum uses what she calls the 'Shake of the wrist' method, but only when exact quantities don't matter and it's only the way it tastes that's important.)

Oh, and not all British people (Don't call us Brits. Some of us hate that!smiley - sadface) use metric. I grew up with pounds and ounces and still prefer them, even though the British government is trying to force us to go metric.


Oh, dear

Post 11

Bobin' Along (with the flow)

First, my most humble appologies for the unintended slight... and, of course, to all those Americans living south of the Mason-Dixon Line who got called "Yanks" I'm still quite new at this international conversation thing. Given time, I'm sure I will achieve an advanced state of Political Correctness on both sides of the Atlantic.

Perhaps it was the putting it into written form that makes it appear convoluted - it really is simple in operation. As for the exactitude of the method, the volume is being measured by direct displacement of the water... what could be more exact? She actually used it more often for shortening (sold here in large cans) than for butter (in clearly-marked graduated sticks).


Oh, dear

Post 12

Cheerful Dragon

The method may be easy in practise, but it still strikes me as inexact. For anything less than a cup, you have to judge how far up the cup the water should come, which is where the inaccuracy will come in. You will then have to adjust the quantities of other ingredients to get them right (even if the adjustment is only very small).

Why measure fat in cups, anyway? What's wrong with putting it on a scale and weighing it?


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