Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Long and Short"bread"of It

Christmas is a season where cookies and treats are abound. Year after year, you anticipate family holiday favourites - which in my case is shortbread.
It is one of those fabulous cookies that acts as a blank canvas for any flavour you wish to enjoy, savoury or sweet. Believe me, I do not discriminate - I devour them all!

A good shortbread recipe is hard to find. One that promises a fine, sandy texture that melts into rich, buttery goodness in your mouth. The secret to achieving this comes with the addition of two things to your standard shortbread recipe: cornstarch and icing sugar. It is imperative that you sift the flour (it aids in obtaining that wonderful texture) and do not ever, under any circumstances, over work the dough. You must also ensure that only the finest quality of ingredients are used, since so few are actually in the recipe. Follow this advice and you are well on your way to baking a perfect shortbread cookie.

As I said before, there are no limitations on combinations of flavours used to enhance the plain dough. So make a few batches and have some fun with it.

Chocolate Fleur de Sel Shortbread Cookies
Makes roughly 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped

1. Mix flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.
2. Beat butter in mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add flour and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate.
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Portion cookies using a teaspoon. Flatten slightly with back of spoon. Chill formed cookies in the fridge for an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring.

While shortbread cookies keep for months in the freezer, they are best when eaten within a week. Enjoy!


Irina said...

It's art, Tina!!! You've been featured:

Congrats on the new venture :)

Jessica Stowe said...

Oh man! Another awesome recipe. Clara and I have been loving shortbread lately-but with mediocre results. Must sift!