From a January 1969 issue of Gourmet comes this wonderful recipe for Shortbread Fans. They are easy to make, have buttery shortbread flavor, and are a bit of a conversation piece! They would be wonderful for a tea party. Here is the recipe . . .
In a bowl sift together 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add one stick or 1/2 cup of soft butter, broken into pieces, and work the mixture with the fingertips until it is mealy. Continue to work the dough until it forms a ball. Wrap it in waxed paper and chill it for about one hour.
Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured board and cut out circles about 3-1/2 inches in diameter. With a sharp knife cut each circle into quarters and score each quarter with the back of a knife in several places to resemble the ribs of a fan. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. While the cookies are still hot sprinkle them with sugar.
Baking notes: When you are rubbing the butter into the flour/sugar mixture, you may wonder if it will come together, but proceed! Kneading it a bit right at the end will bring it all together. Rolling the dough to 1/4″ will result in a slightly soft cookie; rolling to 1/8″ will yield a crisper cookie.
Make this cookie your own: These are small cookies; use a larger cutter for bigger fans. Using lightly tinted pale rose sugar could be beautiful. Mix one tablespoon of sugar with a tiny bit of red food coloring until the sugar is a pale pink. If you have a rose geranium plant, bury a leaf in a jar of sugar for a week or so, and use the scented sugar for sprinkling. Or you could use edible glitter. Or, you could dip the curved edge of the cookie in melted chocolate. Or, make the cookie bigger, and when its done baking, poke a hole near the handle of the fan. Thread with silk ribbon and hang it on the Christmas tree. Also, a couple of these would be perfect to adorn a scoop of ice-cream for dessert. Or (!), dip the edge of the cookie in melted white chocolate and then into sanding sugar (a coarse, sparkling sugar). Oh, yum! Just thought of something else–sandwich two fans together with lemon curd or melted chocolate.
Below–You really don’t need lots of fancy utensils to bake. I am using a recycled beer bottle here to roll out the dough. This is not such a crazy idea–it works perfectly. (I have left the label on here just to show where it came from–you should remove the label before rolling.) In the old days there were porcelain rolling pins that could be filled with cold water to help keep the dough cool as it was rolled out. You could do the same with this bottle, using a cork as a stopper. If you don’t have a 3-1/2″ round cutter, a tuna fish can works well. This one was 3-1/4″–close enough!
Use the dull side of a dinner knife blade to score dough. Score as deeply as you can without actually cutting through the cookie.
This little ball of fluff is a young sparrow. Couldn’t be sweeter!