Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shortbread - Sweet, Simple, Serendipity

I've been working on this cookie post for a week and thought it would be just perfect for announcing the winner of the Jolly Holiday Cookie Baker's Dream Giveaway. I know that what I'm going to say will be difficult for you to believe, as you read on, but I promise this is a complete and total coincidence. A little weird, in a good way . . . but . . . well, you'll see . . .

My favorite cookie of all time is shortbread.  I love shortbread, in any form, but this is the form my homemade shortbread takes.

I bake my shortbread in a ceramic pan with hearts and flowers that leave a raised design on each cookie.  I've had it forever, but the Brown Bag Cookie Art people in New Hampshire are still making pans like this, in a artful array of designs.  Some pans are like mine, others are square and cut into smaller cookie squares.

When cut apart, the scalloped ruffled-edge triangles my pan makes are known as "petticoats."

Of course, shortbread also can be pressed into any round or square baking pan. No special equipment is required and the cookies will still be wonderful.

The Brown Bag company includes a little booklet with recipes and instructions with their pans, just like this one.

Print Recipe

Nothing is easier than making delicious, beautiful shortbread. Four ingredients -- butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and flour. Five minutes from mixing to oven, and then thirty minutes to bake. This classic version is still best,  in my opinion, but there are lots of variations in both sweet and savory flavors. 

A couple of tips for perfect shortbread baked in a ceramic pan -- spray the pan with cooking spray before pressing in the dough, prick holes in the dough after placing in the pan, bake in the top on-third of the oven, remove when the entire surface is browned, cool for ten minutes, invert and tap cookie out of pan, cut into shapes with a sharp knife (I use a pizza cutter!) while still warm. That's it.

You will be delighted by the every-so-slight flaky resistance of the center. The sandy texture melts into a sweet buttery sensation in your mouth. Oh, yes! Just sweet enough. Shortbread seems so simple and, yet, it is so surprisingly good, in a gotta-have-another sorta way!

Some people get fancy and dip part of the cookie, or the whole flat side, into melted chocolate and let them dry on wax paper before serving. I wouldn't know about that. Shortbread is never around here long enough to even wait for chocolate to melt!

Little boxes or wrapped plates, filled with homemade shortbread and tied with bright bows are a perfect hostess gift, neighbor gift, teacher gift, or anyone-anytime gift.

If you really want to be sweet, give a new ceramic shortbread pan filled with it's first shortbread as a gift to anyone who loves cookies or is a baker. 

It's sure to be a favorite -- a gift that keeps on giving!

And speaking of cookies . . . and gifts . . . the winner of the Jolly Holiday Cookie Baker's Dream Giveaway is Karen of the blog . . . are you ready . . . I'm not kidding . . . this is just too bizaare . . . her blog is called SHORTBREAD! Yeah, I know, I couldn't believe it either when her name popped up! Congratulations Karen -- I guess it was meant to be!

Karen, I'll send out your box of baking goodies right away, but how about sharing your favorite shortbread recipe here while you wait? You know, a little Shortbread serendipity for all of us!


nckitkat said...

sounds yummy! who wouldn't love cookies from Great Britain?

Karen said...

Really this it just too much. I'm so exctied, and amazed at the coincidence of your choosing shortbread as the cookie for this post! I suppose it is about time I share my favorite shortbread recipe, huh? I'll get right on it.

Pam said...

You make it sound soooo easy and I love shortbread. I'm still doubtful mine would look pretty.