Blogging just got a whole lot easier. Danger! I got an I Phone 4 (not the newest one, too spendy) and have been d/l-ing, photo taking, and texting like a FOOL. As soon as I can get 'Face Time' to work, I'm sure I'll be videochatting up a storm.
But, I did have time yesterday to make traditional shortbread cookies (from All Recipes, submitted by Mrs. Allen Swensen *) for a friend who has been under the weather.
Hmmm, 'under the weather' sounds mild for a guy who is fighting cancer with needles, words and chemo. And - apparently - sweet treats.
I'm not really a cookie making type, but the guy, Jay Lake, wanted shortbread cookies, so I made 'em. Happily! In the months we've been seeing each other, he's never asked for anything cooked so I was pleased to oblige. Even to the point of making traditional rather than lavender shortbread cookies. Which I prefer because they taste good -- herbal yet sweet -- but mostly because I have purple sugar sprinkles which make them look so cute.
The sweet guy also gets an apple tart. Or maybe not, we'll see how my time holds out.
If you want a good recipe, use the link above or look up Mrs. Swensen's recipe on All Recipes. If you want something more fun, here's my fav lavender shortbread cookie recipe. Adapted from "Maryeileen's" recipe, also on All Recipes
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sifted confectioners'sugar
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh lavender
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups A-P flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
Sprinkles of colored sugar as garnish
|In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, mint and lemon zest. Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt; mix into the batter until well blended. Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten to about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 1hour.|
|Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.|
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until cookies begin to brown at the edges.
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. This step is important or the cookies will fall apart when you try to move them. On the plus side, mucking up a couple of cookies makes for a lovely cook's snack. Can't have the defective ones around for anyone to see...
The trick with shortbread is understanding the nature of a 'short' dough. It's a dough with a high fat content which makes it crumbly and tender. It also has no gluten development to hold it together.
The raw dough even crumbles like crazy. I usually mash it into a log, roll it evenly in waxed paper, and chill it. Then cut 1/4 inch slices off of the chilled log.
The other thing about shortbread is that it shouldn't really brown. The cookies should have a little color around the edges, but be mostly pure light yellow.
I live in a great 'hood for foraging so when I make these cookies, I just snip some lavender from bushes here and there, wash it well, and just use it. I also leave out mint if I have to buy it -- I'm ridiculously cheap.
So that's the cookie lesson for the day.
* I really hate it when women, usually older women, use only their husbands name. Do you suppose her first name is Allen? I guess it's possible.