Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shortbread


Shortbread is one of my fAAvorite cookies.

The simplicity of the recipe makes them easy to prepare anytime. My recent acquisition of a fancy shortbread pan has given my shortbread an elegant design and was well worth the money. I think the key to really great shortbread is to use the best butter you can find. I splurged on Vermont Butter and Cheese Company's cultured butter. I accidentally bought the salted variety but, I think it added some depth to the shortbread so I recommend using a lightly salted butter or just add a pinch into the recipe.  I also used the best vanilla I could find.  And here is where I digress...

Recently I got a temporary transfer to the R&D department where I work. I work for a Vegan ice cream company as a Quality Control Technician. Well, I had no idea there were so many variations on vanilla! At the food lab we have your standard vanilla like you can get at the grocery store, we have your higher end bourbon vanilla which you can find at specialty shops, and then... well then it gets really interesting! Caramelized vanilla, upfront notes vanilla, vanilla creme, vanilla bean etc etc. The variations go on and on. You can check out Mission flavors they even have a cheesecake flavor. Food Science is so much fun!

So here is my recipe for shortbread;

3/4 cup really good butter at room temp (salted or add pinch of salt)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

preheat oven to 325 f. Grease your pan.

Cream butter until it is light in color. Cream in the powdered sugar then the vanilla. lightly work in the flour until incorporated. Knead on a floured board until you have a smooth dough. Firmly press the dough into your pan or cut into shapes. Prick surface with a fork, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned ( I go for a golden color) let cool in pan for 10 minutes and carefully remove. Cut while still warm.  ENJOY!

The texture of these cookies is light and flakey with a melt in your mouth feel leaving the buttery flavor and vanilla notes of flavor at the end. It seems to be a really forgiving recipe due to the powdered sugar, which also gives that melt in your mouth feel. 

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