Drumroll Please Shortbread Shortbread

It would seem logical that one should be able to find a recipe for shortbread on a blog named Shortbread, right?  Possibly even in the very first post one might think.  Well, it just didn’t quite work out that way here.

I suppose the reason is mainly that I wanted to make sure that if there was a recipe for shortbread, that it would be the best one I could give you.  So (drumroll) here it is!  I give you my favorite Shortbread recipe that is buttery, crumbly, and perfectly sweet.  I know, it’s about time.

Shortbread’s Shortbread

makes 16 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for top
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) corn flour or fine semolina*
  • 1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift flours and salt (if using) together into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar with a stand or hand mixer until creamy.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture and blend just until it comes together as a dough.
  5. Dump dough out onto a piece of parchment or a lightly floured surface and divide into two halves. Gently shape halves into discs and press each into two 8-inch round tart pans or cake tins. (Alternately, shape all the dough into a rectangle and press into a 9×13 inch baking pan.)
  6. Using a fork, either prick holes all over the dough or press the tines around the outer edges (or both).
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes until pale golden all over.
  8. Remove from the oven and dust top with sugar. Cut each into 8 triangles (or 16 squares) while still warm, then let cool completely before removing from pan.

*I use Bob’s Red Mill Corn Flour. If you can’t find or don’t have corn/semolina flour, the recipe will still work using just all-purpose flour.

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{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia Rugelach

The end is near, VERY near.  The end of winter, I mean.  I’ve already sworn off heavy sweaters  no matter what.  I’m getting ready to buy some colorful flowers for my porch.  Daylight savings is about to begin.  THIS IS IT!

As for my kitchen, this cookie will probably be the last of the winter warm-spiced sweets that will be coming out of it before the light citrus and floral flavors take over.  Rugelach, with a cinnamon-sugar, nut and dried fruit filling, is the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia.

The recipe was contributed by Lauren Groveman and is slightly different from Rugelach that I have tried in the past whereby it is rolled up lengthwise and sliced and then drenched in cinnamon-sugar-nut crumbs before baking.  The dough is traditional, made with cream cheese and butter which is easy to work with and bakes up fluffy and tender and is really hard to mess up.

I used a natural apricot preserve for my filling, along with pecans and walnuts and a dried fruit mix from King Arthur Flour that includes apricots, raisins, pineapple cubes, dates, and cranberries.  I didn’t need to plump the fruit at all and the mix of flavors with the sugar and cinnamon was delicious.  I think the idea of rolling these in the cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture was brilliant.  It gave these cookies that little something extra that causes them to be slightly addictive.

This is not a ‘throw it all together and bake’ recipe, however.  It is fairly complicated and involves a lot of chilling.  I spread it out over three days – making the dough on day one, filling and rolling on day two, and coating and baking on day three.  You could do it in one if you started early enough, but it really needs at least two.  And I would suggest if you want to store some to bake later, freeze the logs after rolling them up but before coating them, just make sure to put aside half of the coating mixture in a bag to freeze with them.

Thanks to the Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia hostesses for this week, Jessica of My Baking Heart, and Margaret of The Urban Hiker.  You can find this fabulous recipe on their sites or in the lovely book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

 

Squeeze Out Some Sweetness Macadamia Butter Cookies With Dried Cranberries

My super sweet, always agreeable, never give you a hard time child has finally reached the age of testing his limits.  Now every direction is met with a resounding NO, every explanation is followed by but, everything on his plate besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches gets an ewww, and socks are his worst enemy.

I had a feeling this time would come.  I do know, however, that the sweetness will always be there waiting to be coaxed out with hugs and cookies.

These Macadamia Butter Cookies will surely do the trick for coaxing a little sweetness out of anyone this Valentine’s Day.  They are especially perfect for those non-chocolate lovers out there!  The trick is to process macadamia nuts into ‘macadamia butter’, and use it much like you would peanut butter.  Use whole nuts to start and process until very smooth – when I bought pre-chopped macadamias for this recipe once, the dough came out too dry.

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002

makes 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Place nuts in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Combine macadamia butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add vanilla and egg; beat well.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined (mixture will be very thick). Stir in chopped cranberries. Chill 10 minutes.
  4. Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions; roll each portion into a ball. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Lightly press each ball into sugar; place each ball, sugar side up, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  5. Gently press the top of each cookie with a fork. Dip the fork in water; gently press the top of each cookie again to form a crisscross pattern. Place 15 cookies on each of 2 baking sheets.
  6. Bake cookies, 1 baking sheet at a time, at 375° for 9 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pan; cool on a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining cookies.

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No Substitution Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

There are just some things that cannot be substituted or duplicated.  Like ranch dressing, hazelnut spread, cherry pie filling, or Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Try as you might, it’s just impossible to make some things at home that work as well in recipes or taste the same as certain foods, whether you like it or not.

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{Tuesdays With Dorie} No Substitution Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

There are just some things that cannot be substituted or duplicated.  Like ranch dressing, hazelnut spread, cherry pie filling, or Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Try as you might, it’s just impossible to make some things at home that work as well in recipes or taste the same as certain foods, whether you like it or not.

Another example of this is sweetened condensed milk.  This tooth-achingly sweet version of milk in a can makes so many recipes taste fabulous and they just aren’t the same without it.  Can you make it at home?  Most likely.  Would it taste the same?  Probably not.  But I’m willing to have someone else do the work for me in this case.

If you happen to have some of that fabulous milk on hand, you probably also have  the rest of the ingredients to make this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars.  These bars are composed of an oatmeal cookie-like layer on the bottom, a rich fudge center, and are dotted with more oatmeal cookie dough on top.  Mine were made without the peanuts and raisins to increase their chances of being eaten at my house, but I know they would be great if you like them at yours.

Give Lillian a visit at Confectiona’s Realm to see the recipe or find it in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

{Tuesdays With Dorie} Swedish Chef And Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben

Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben brought to you by the Swedish Chef:

swedish chef doughnuts

Well, maybe not quite Scherben, but close.

It felt a little Swedish Chef-ish to make this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, since it was something a little crazy and unusual.  A little ball of dough made from a small amount of butter, a tiny bit of sugar, a pinch of salt, one egg and a little flour and baking powder is then rolled out and cut into funky shapes and then deep fried.  The fried ‘shards’ are then covered in cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar to make a crispy and sweet and slightly addictive snack.

I wasn’t sure about them at first, but they grew on me and I found myself picking the last little pieces out of the sugar from the bottom of the bag.

Teanna of Spork or Foon? was the host this week, and you can find recipe there if you want to try these.

Hmmm, what can I fry next . . . maybe doughnuts?

The Week Before Christmas Date Nut Balls {The Kitchen Reader Cookie Exchange}

‘Twas the month before Christmas and all of the weeks are spent visiting family, trimming everything, sending out Christmas cards, baking, attending school plays and parties, shopping, trying to squeeze twenty hours of continuing education in before the end of the year (oh, that’s just me) . . .

The children are doing their best to be good, their Elves telling Santa if they’ve done what they should.

And mama’s getting frazzled, and papa’s freakin’ out, ’cause the smaller the present, the bigger the amount.

But a little Christmas treat from the kitchen can help, and we can all rest a bit and remember what this time’s all about.

This recipe is one my mother used to make every Christmas growing up – it most likely came from a church cookbook.  If you love dates, you’ll love these.  If you don’t, you’ll love these anyway.

Date Nut Balls

from Shortbread

makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
  • 1 cup nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  • sweetened flaked coconut and/or confectioner’s sugar

Directions

  1. Melt butter and sugar in a medium sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Add egg and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Add dates, nuts and vanilla and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies.
  5. When cool enough to handle, roll into bite-sized balls and roll in coconut or confectioner’s sugar.

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Check out the Kitchen Readers and their favorite Holiday cookies here.

‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!’

{Tuesdays With Dorie} No Pressure Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Have you made your Christmas list yet?  Started your Christmas shopping?  Finished your Christmas shopping?  No pressure or anything.  It’s not like I’ve done any of those things yet.  I take that back, I bought my first Christmas present yesterday, so I guess I’ve officially jumped on the holiday bandwagon.

If you need a little nudge to get you started, here’s a recipe that will help get you in the holiday mood.  Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies chosen by Pamela of Cookies With Boys for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie is just perfect for snacking on while making out your gift list.  A crispy cookie with a little bit of softness in the center from the molasses and brown sugar that is spiced with ginger, cinnamon, allspice and a little pinch of black pepper, and covered with a little sprinkling of sugar ‘snow’.  Sweet, spicy and delicious.

Sound good?  Visit Pamela for the recipe.  Now I must go make my list.

No Pressure Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Have you made your Christmas list yet?  Started your Christmas shopping?  Finished your Christmas shopping?  No pressure or anything.  It’s not like I’ve done any of those things yet.  I take that back, I bought my first Christmas present yesterday, so I guess I’ve officially jumped on the holiday bandwagon.

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Dunk And Gift Chocolate Citrus Biscotti {Cookie Carnival}

 

Here’s a good one to put on your baking list for the Holidays – Chocolate Citrus Biscotti.  Perfect to bake and dunk in your warm beverage of choice while you do the rest of your work in the kitchen, and lovely to package and give away as gifts.

The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and is the Cookie Carnival pick for October.  It differs from the traditional biscotti with the addition of cornmeal, which gives it even more crunch than usual.  Lemon and orange zest are added to the mix also, in just the right amounts.  Chocolate and cocoa make them even prettier and even tastier.

Fun, festive, addictively crunchy and just right for the Holidays, click here for the recipe so you can bake up a batch.

 

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookie Fusion – Cookie Carnival

cc strawberry shortcake cookies

Craving some strawberry shortcake, but not in the mood to spend too much time in the kitchen?  Well, here’s your answer – the ultimate fusion of strawberries, cream, and biscuits – Martha Stewart’s Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies.  Like a scone in cookie form, these are sweet and tender with a crunchy sugared top.

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Tuesdays With Dorie Chipster-Topped Brownies For Friends

bb chipster brownie

I miss my Friends.  That is one of the funniest shows ever, in my opinion.  I still catch a re-run every once in a while and just literally laugh out loud.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a truly funny comedy that doesn’t make fun of people or just make you feel dirty.  Especially since I was around the same age as the ‘friends’ when they were on, I could really identify with their characters.  They were just plain funny.

Making this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection from Beth of Supplicious (click for recipe), Chipster-Topped Brownies, made me think of this:

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Cookies Revisited And A Thank You

cookie-collage

To wrap up Cookie Week here at Shortbread, I’d like to revisit a few of the cookies I’ve waxed poetic about in the past.  If you’re new here, or if you’ve been visiting a while, I’d just like to re-introduce the melt-in your mouth Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies, the over-the-top Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, and the blog-tastic World Peace Cookies.  A little something for everyone.

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Don’t Wake The Dogs Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

kitchen-sink-cookies

It amazes me how a dog can be sleeping so soundly, snoring and chasing squirrels and catching birds, and as soon as a single chocolate chip drops to the floor, he’s awake and in the kitchen scooping it up.  The way their supersonic ears can pick up the sound of a bag of chips being opened from the other side of the house just blows my mind.

Really, I can’t even walk into the kitchen without our dogs being in there under my feet waiting for something to hit the floor.  And the fact that I can be a little clumsy works to their advantage.  But sometimes I would like them to just STAY ASLEEP so I don’t have to worry about them while I’m trying to concentrate on a recipe.

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Always Trendy Thick And Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

tc-choc-chip-cookies

You know you’re getting old(er) when trends start to reappear from your childhood.  Like skinny jeans, legwarmers, and (gasp) shoulder pads.  Some say you should only follow a trend once in your lifetime.  Sometimes, however, a trend returns with such popularity that eventually you just have to embrace it.  Like wide-leg jeans, leggings, and big sunglasses.  I remember thinking I would be glad when the capri trend passed – that’s what my mother wore when she was young – and now they are a fixture in fashion.

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Tuesdays With Dorie Coconut Butter Thins

twd-coconut-butter-thins-2

I am a procrastinator baker.  If there is dusting to be done, I bake cookies.  Pictures to be hung?  I make bread.  Toilets to cleaned?  I must find a use for those browning bananas.

So this weekend when the floors desperately needed to be swept and mopped, I found myself in the kitchen once again baking up this week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie selection, Coconut Butter Thins.

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Cookie Carnival Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies

carrot-cake-cookies

No, these aren’t oatmeal creme pies!  But they look like them, don’t they?

Kate at the clean plate club has a baking group called The Cookie Carnival.  She will be posting around the end of every month a round-up of all the bloggers that make a chosen cookie recipe.

I’ll tell you, I’m all for celebrating the cookie!  I probably make cookies more than any other dessert, just because they are fun, family friendly, and freezer friendly.  So this week I’m going to have my own Cookie Carnival and post cookie recipes all week.

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Peace

World Peace Cookies

In honor of the Inauguration yesterday, I baked up a batch of World Peace Cookies.  If only baking cookies could solve the problems of the world…

Our new President has a hard road ahead and I, like everyone, hope he is what America needs to get us through.  In the meantime, bake some cookies for you and yours and spread some peace in your own corner of the world. Continue reading

Not Your Ordinary Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Even though it’s origins are in New York, cream cheese is something the South has embraced as one of it’s favorite ingredients to elevate a recipe from really good to heavenly.  Think carrot or red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, or any other kind of layer cake, cupcake or sheet cake for that matter.  Think cream cheese pound cake, brownies, or pumpkin roll.  Think cheese balls and cream cheese dips of endless variations, and meat or vegetable casseroles.  Even cream cheese fruit and jello salads.  Throw some cream cheese in it and call it DUUN!

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You Say Peecan and I Say Pahcahn Shortbread

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread

It’s the most famous nut in the south, with the most variations on how to pronounce its name.  I tend to change the way I say it depending on where I am.  With my family in NC – PEECAHN.  With my family in SC – PEECAN.  With the girls in the Junior League – PAHCAHN.  It’s all the same to me, and the pecan is probably the nut I choose first for my recipes.  They are so good just off the trees in the fall, and they freeze well, too.  And when you toast them, it takes them to another level. Continue reading