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Posts Tagged ‘Shortbread’

Shortbread always reminds me of Christmas because it’s often when I enjoy an

indulgence of its scrumptious buttery goodness.  Dressed up with cocoa

powder, cherries, chocolate, toffee or zest, these little melt in your mouth

wonders are always delicious.  Whether you whip, roll, slice or spritz it,

shortbread is incredibly versatile and offers up an array of applications for

dressing up a cookie tray.  This variation includes poppy seeds for a crunchy

texture and lemon zest for a burst of lemony flavour that is very clean and

refreshing.  I’ve been making these for a couple of years now and though I

usually make them at Christmas, they really do work at any other time of the

year. As a snack or served with tea to unexpected guests, these just

popped out of the freezer treats, are always in season.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread

1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened

I cup (250 ml) confectioners (icing) sugar

2 tablespoons (25 ml) poppy seeds

2 tablespoons (25 ml) grated lemon rind

2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (25 ml) granulated sugar

In a bowl, cream together butter and confectioners sugar until fluffy; stir in

poppy seeds and lemon rind.  Gradually blend in flour. 

Gather dough into a ball and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes or divide in

half and flatten into 2 discs if you’re in a hurry.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness (5 mm);

cut into 2-inch (5 cm) rounds and place directly onto an ungreased baking

sheet or on a sheet of parchment.

Bake at 300° F (150°C) oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until very faintly brown

around the edges. Let cookies cool on a rack. These cookies can be stored in

an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen  for up to 1 month.)  Makes

about 40 cookies.

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For the record, I am a self-confessed cookie monster.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,

cookies. It is absolutely amazing how many cookies I can manage to eat

without even thinking about it. It actually scares me. In fact, I  just might have

a condition, for which I’m not sure there is any known cure. Oh well, I guess

I’m just going to have to live with it.

For years, I have drooled over many a picture of these lovely cookies,

knowing that they would be delicious, but just never getting around to making

them.  Finally I did … or I have, just made these cookies, and they are just as

wonderful, as I’ve always imagined them to be.  The sugar cookie dough is light

and flaky (reminds me of pie crust), the filling is fruity and delicious, not

overly sweet, and the delicate sprinkling of icing sugar on the top, is like a

little kiss of sweetness, that blends all the flavours together in your mouth. 

Delicious!

The thing about these cookies, is that they seem like a little more work than,

let’s say, a drop cookie, because you have to cut out the shapes and spread

the jam and put the two pieces together. Whatever extra work you’ve ever

thought there was to making these cookies, put it aside, they are so worth it.

In fact, I’ve just realized what they remind me of … pie … flaky crust on the top

and bottom, with a luscious fruit filling in the middle. These cookies are often

referred to as “sandwich cookie”, but I think they’re more like a pie than a

sandwich, so I’m calling them “pie cookies”.   Just like pie, these cookies hold a

sweet, fruity filling that can be just about any flavour you can come up with. 

I’m imagining strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, fig, lemon curd, marmalade,

peach.  I could go on and on, but I won’t spoil all the fun.  Take a walk on the

wild side, and see what you come up with.

Apricot Pie Cookies

2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (3 oz/90 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)

1/2 teaspoon extract (essence) of your choice (almond, orange, vanilla)

6 tablespoons seedless jam of your choice (I used apricot)

 Method

1.  In a large bowl, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on

medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and extracts and beat on low

speed until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the dough

comes together in a large clump (this should take about 30 seconds to a

minute).

2. Press the dough together into a ball, then divide it in half.  Gather each half

into a ball, flatten each ball into a disk 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter, wrap in

plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes.

3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 325 ° F (165 ° C).

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment (baking) paper.

4. Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator.  Lightly dust a work surface

and a rolling-pin with flour.  Roll out the dough 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.  Slide a

thin metal spatula under the dough to loosen it from the rolling surface.  Using

a 2 1/2 -inch (6 cm) round-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies.  Using a 1-

inch (2.5 cm) flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the center of half of the

cookies.  Place the larger circles  1 1/2 inches (4 cm) apart on a prepared

baking sheet.  Repeat with the second disk of dough, what you just did with the

first. Press the dough scraps together and repeat the rolling and cutting

process.

5. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the edges are light brown, 12-15

minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer

them to wire racks to cool completely.

6. Leaving a 1/4 inch (6 mm) border uncovered, spread about 1 teaspoon of

the jam over each cookie without a cutout.  If my jam is thick I like to heat it

up with a tablespoon of water or lemon juice to make it easier to spread. Using

a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar.  Place the

cutout cookies on top of the jam-covered cookies. (You may notice I got a

little ahead of myself and put the tops on my cookies before I dusted them

with icing sugar — hence I have icing sugar on my jam — doesn’t bother me and

I hope it doesn’t bother you. Like I always say, there are no rules here — feel

free to put your own twist on things!)

7. You can make some really miniature pie cookies by placing a little dollop of

jam on a miniature cutout and pressing it onto another miniature cutout so

that you have little miniature pie cookies.  Dust the miniature pie cookies with

confectioners’ sugar.  Sneak them in-between eating the regular size cookies

because you’ll feel only half as guilty.

There are no rules when it comes to these cookies. They can be adapted to suit

any occasion. The dough can be cut into any shape.  If it’s late October, use

pumpkins cutters with a smaller pumpkin cutout and fill it with apricot jam. 

For Valentines Day, use heart cutouts filled with strawberry or raspberry jam

or use cutters with ruffled edges like I did.  Change the filling to suit the

occasion or your tastes. All cookies can be stored in an airtight container at

room temperature for up to 4 days. Makes 16 cookies and 16 miniature 

cookies.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking

Well, I’ve really got to go now, I have a lot of — uhmm, cookies to eat.

This Sweet Wife

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