Tag Archives: shortbread

Staying classy

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A great friend of mine graciously gifted me with the Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook for Christmas last year. Now, I typically cannot commit to a recipe without an overload of imagery (of both process and final product – note to foodisbomb.com) but the recipes in this cookbook have made me finally overlook my pictorial needs.

In a genius move, each recipe is grouped not only by course but also by season, with notes on picking the freshest batch of the bounty. These shortbread cookies are categorized as “evergreen” and thank god because they are so simple and perfect for any occasion. Even just having some frozen dough on hand for an impromptu tea or wine sesh with friends would be absolutely clutch.

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Something about eating a shortbread cookie makes you feel so proper: perhaps it’s the way you have to daintily hold each cookie between thumb and index finger while ever-so-slightly cocking your chin out to gently take a bite (and avoid an unnecessary crumb attack). Or, maybe it’s because they are always an accessory to a high tea or coffee date. Whatever it is, these cookies are definitely a snack to stroke our inner elitist, which is ironic since they are unbelievably easy to make.

I drizzled some orange honey on top for a little extra somethin-somethin but I also think these would make great jam sandwich cookies.

Happy shortbreading my classy friends!

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from the Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook

1/2 cup roasted and unsalted pistachios
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup pistachio meal
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a good 24 whole pistachios and finely chop the rest. Sift together flour, salt and set aside. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar on high speed untel blended. add the pistachio meal and beat until creamy. On low speed add the flour mixture.

Scrape dough onto parchment paper and shape into a log about 8.5″ long (like a sushi roll). Make sure there are no cracks in the dough. Brush all sides with the egg. Roll the dough in the chopped pistachios and chill for at least an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit for 10-20 mins before slicing into 3/8″ rounds. Place on an ungreased baking sheet 1″ apart and press one pistachio in the center of each cookie. Bake for 16 mins or until cookies are slightly golden and puffed. Let cool and drizzle with honey to your hearts content.

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End of Summer Sweets

We have a plethora of first-world problems to complain about at this time of the year: the sun has begun to set at 7 instead of 8, our inbox is overflowing with advertisements for fall boot collections and our morning drives are now elongated with the return of school commuters. Life is so damn hard. Weighing most heavily on my little urbanite heart: the last crop of summer fruit at the farmers market! As I desperately cling to the last sweet tastes of summer, the white nectarines and juicy red plums from my last csa box are losing natures battle- their sun-kissed skins wrinkling in the back of the fridge. But fear not dear bakers- sweet, sweet salvation is near. Enter the stone fruit brown butter shortbread cookie.

The original recipe called for peaches (adapted from Smitten Kitchen), but I found that the tartness of the plums really complement the sweetness of the shortbread. That being said, I have also made these bars with peaches and it was still quite delicious- absolutely no complaints there. The plums just really take these to another level. Overripe is definitely key – you want your fruit to be ridiculously sweet. Perfect for the last batch of summer’s best crop!

Also key is the almond extract. I’m a sucker for almond based anything, and replacing the vanilla with the almond really amps up the flavor from delightfully sweet to orgasmically light and nutty. The fruit is just an added bonus. And because these are cookies with fruit, you’re convinced that it’s ok to eat for breakfast. Which it totally is.

Careful, though! It’s easy to overdose on these little bites of joy. (Yes, ahem- I am a survivor.)

Enjoy!

Plum and Nectarine Shortbread
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup white sugar
3 tbs brown sugar (for sprinkling on top)
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups minus 2 tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 lemon
about 4-6 small nectarines and plums, cut into 1/4 inch slices

First brown your butter. I followed Smitten Kitchen’s regimen:

Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

While your butter is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 375°F and butter a 9×13 inch pan. (I like to wrap the pan in tin foil before buttering for easier cleanup). In a medium bowl, stir together white sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Zest 1/2 of the lemon and add to the mixture. Add the solidified brown butter, egg and almond extract into the flour mixture using a blender or fork. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Squeeze the lemon juice over the plum and nectarine slices then tile the fruit over the crumb base in a single layer. (It doesn’t have to be pretty). Add brown sugar to remaining crumb mixture and scatter evenly over fruit. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting.

I cut these more into logs than squares since it makes for easier eating and enjoying- they’re pretty crumbly. No one likes to look like a fool when they’re eating dessert.