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Monday, January 7, 2013

A smorgasbord of shortbread!

I love shortbread - they're easy, rich and delicious, and can be made into an infinite amount of flavors! Here are a few shortbread recipes to get your mouth watering. Start softening that butter...

Maple and Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Lori Longbotham, Oct 2010 for Bon Appetit


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus additional for pan
  • 7 tablespoons finely ground maple sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (about) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • Test-Kitchen Tip
  • If maple sugar is coarse, grind it in a food processor until it resembles granulated sugar.

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. 
  2. Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, 6 tablespoons maple sugar, and coarse salt in large bowl until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved. Add flour and beat just until blended. 
  3. Pat dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Press chocolate chips into dough in random pattern, spacing chips 1/2 inch apart (chips should show). Brush dough with maple syrup and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon maple sugar.
  4. Bake shortbread until golden brown and firm to touch, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool shortbread 10 minutes. Gently push tart pan bottom up, releasing shortbread. Cut warm shortbread into 16 wedges. Cool shortbread wedges completely and serve.

Lemon Shortbread Heart Cookies
Jodi Liano, February 2011 for Bon Appetit


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Generous pinch of coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (about) sugar
  • Additional powdered sugar (optional)
special equipment
  • 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter heart-shaped cookie cutter
  1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Add flour and coarse salt and beat just until blended. 
  2. Transfer dough to large piece of plastic wrap and press into disk. Cover dough with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Place wrapped dough on another baking sheet and chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Transfer wrapped dough to work surface; remove top sheet of plastic. Using 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut out cookies and place on 1 parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Reroll dough scraps to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out additional cookies; place on second parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle top of cookies lightly with sugar (about 2 teaspoons). Chill 10 minutes.
  4. Bake cookies until light brown on bottom and just barely golden around edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of cookies, if desired. 
DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.

Parmesan Shortbread with Fennel and Sea Salt

Caitlin Williams Freeman, Blue Bottle Coffee, San Francisco


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt or other coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a medium bowl on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, pepper, and kosher salt. Reduce speed to medium and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add flour and cheese. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat mixture just until dough comes together.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic and flatten into a rectangle. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.
  3. Place fennel seeds in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Coarsely crush with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet. Alternatively, pulse in a spice mill until coarsely crushed. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in sea salt. Set fennel salt aside.
  4. Arrange a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove plastic wrap from dough. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10x8" rectangle about 1/4" thick. Cut in thirds crosswise, then cut each third crosswise into 6 rectangles. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1" apart. Brush cookies generously with oil, then sprinkle with fennel salt.
  5. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until cookies are golden brown (flecks of cheese will be slightly darker), 20-24 minutes. Let cool on sheets for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Millionaire's Shortbread
Gale Gand

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated to lukewarm
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment or waxed paper. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream 8 ounces butter until soft. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and mix until incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and cornstarch. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix at low speed just until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead it 5 to 10 times, to bring the dough together and smooth it out. Re-flour your work surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to fit the sheet pan. To transfer to the sheet pan, roll the dough up onto the rolling pin, lift it up, and unroll into the pan. Using light strokes of the rolling pin, roll the dough into the corners and edges of the pan, and roll out any bumps (or press the rolled-out dough thoroughly into the pan with your fingers). Prick the shortbread all over with a fork to prevent any buckling or shrinking.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate the pan and knock it once against the oven rack, to ensure even cooking and a flat surface. Bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until very lightly browned. Let cool in the pan.
  4. Pour the remaining 2 1/2 cups sugar into the center of a deep saucepan. Carefully pour the water around the sugar, trying not to splash any sugar onto the sides of the pan. Do not stir; gently draw your finger through the center of the sugar twice, making a cross, to moisten it. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil without stirring. Reduce the heat to a fast simmer and cook without stirring until amber-caramel in color, 10 to 20 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter with a wooden spoon. Slowly and carefully pour in the lukewarm cream, stirring slowly but constantly (it will bubble up and may splatter). Pour over the baked shortbread and smooth the top. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, to harden slightly.
  5. When the caramel has set, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or in a mixing bowl) set over barely simmering water, stirring frequently. Stir in the vegetable oil (this will make the chocolate less brittle when it hardens). Pour over the cooled caramel and spread quickly with the back of a spatula or spoon to cover the entire surface. Let cool in the pan. With a heavy knife, cut into 1 1/2-by-3-inch bars. Store in an airtight container.

Happy baking!

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