Sunday, November 28, 2010
Crispy and aromatic, a great gift for the holidays
Recipe #59: almond shortbread
My mother's shortbread is always really good. For this past Thanksgiving, my mother and I decided to make another of them, to give to different friends. Shortbread is sold everywhere, whether in the supermarket or bakery, or from the Girl Scouts. They all taste pretty good, but they generally contain ingredients that maintain their freshness. In terms of textures, our homemade cookies are all-natural, freshly baked and full of buttery goodness, and have none of those ingredients. Each crispy bite holds the essence of almonds, which the shortbread sold in stores cannot compare to. No wonder everyone who has tasted it have told us that it was fabulous.
In reality, shortbread is easy to make, although the method is slightly difficult. As the dough is very, very sticky, it can be hard to knead into the desired shape. However, this is rewarded with the best shortbread you'll ever taste.
1. 2 sticks (1 c.) butter, at room temperature
2. 1 c. sugar
3. 1 egg
4. 2 c. cake flour
5. 1/2 c. whole roasted almonds
1. Beat butter until soft.
2. Add sugar, and then flour and almonds. Mix well.
3. Cover the bottom of a small (about 8" x 11") baking pan with parchment.
4. Using your hands, push the dough evenly into the baking pan. You can use a rolling pin at the end if you want to.
5. Put in refrigerator for two hours.
6. Remove from refrigerator, and lift the entire mixture, including the parchment, to the table or board.
7. Using a knife, cut the dough into a rectangular pieces.
8. Put pieces in a larger baking pan, with at least 1 cm between each piece. Put in oven preheated at 350 F on the center level.
9. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes.
1. When we make it for ourselves, we sometimes substitute 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat flour.
2. We also reduce the sugar to 1/2 c. Whole wheat has its own natural sweetness, so we don't need so much sugar.
3. The reason for putting the dough in the refrigerator is to let the butter re-solidify; otherwise, the dough will be stick and hard to cut.