Fresh homemade shortbread is so easy and so much better than store bought there just is no comparison. Fresh homemade shortbread done with maple sugar instead of white or brown is just amazing. It is more expensive though than store bought or using brown sugar.
Maple sugar shortbread-
2 cups of flour (weighs about 9 ozs) at 1.00 a lb- 57¢
.5 cup maple sugar (weighs about 3 oz)- $3.38
1 cup of butter- assuming 4.00 a lb= $2.00
So an 8 inch round pan of shortbread with maple sugar costs about 5.95 to bake.
Brown sugar would be about 40¢ for a packed half cup, and white sugar would be even less. So it costs half as much to make a batch that way.
But the maple sugar tastes so good.
Maple Sugar Shortbread-
Preheat oven to 375° F
1 cup soft butter (butter, really. Don't use margarine for this)
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (well, I'm sure other types will do, but that's what I have on hand this week)
Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in 1 3/4 cup flour, stir in the last half cup a little at a time to make a soft dough. Pat dough into an ungreased 8 inch cake pan. Prick it with a fork, and score it into 8 pieces with a knife (like cutting up a pizza). Put it in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 20 minutes. Check to see if it's all browned and lovely. While it's still warm, cut along the scores to separate but *don't* take it out of the pan yet. It will crumble. Let it cool as long as anyone will put up with before serving.
It's pretty flexible though. My great grandfather used a similar recipe omitting the sugar, and adding in a cup of cheddar cheese, some red and black pepper and powdered onion and garlic to make savory crackers. You can use this recipe with any kind of wheat flour, or even a mix of wheat and oat flour, you can use brown, white or maple sugar. I don't recommend date. It gets weird in a lot of types of baking. You can make a snickerdoodle like shortbread by mixing in some vanilla or vanilla caviar (the seeds inside a pod, slice pod, scrape inside. Toss empty pod into a container of sugar for coffee and baking)and sprinkling the top lightly with cinnamon.
But I just made plain old shortbread. With maple sugar. Yum yum.