Saturday, 5 November 2011

And then there was shortbread...

I have shortbread baking in the oven right now and the smell is... (inhaling deeply) intoxicating to say the least. Tonight I've tried an Alice Medrich shortbread recipe. After the well-received Cocoa Brownies which I adapted a little to suit Toad, I've been keen on trying out more of her recipes.  I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

Here is the recipe, adapted to metric measurements.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

180g unsalted Butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons Castor Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Vanilla Seeds scrapped from 1 Vanilla Pod
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
180g Plain Flour
Turbinado, Demerara or Granulated Sugar for sprinkling

Melt Butter in a heavy-based saucepan.

Remove from heat and stir in Salt, Sugar, Vanilla Essence and Seeds. Fold in Flour with a wooden spoon. Mix gently until a soft dough forms. Pat into a round or rectangular fluted baking tin with a removable bottom and leave to stand 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, switch the oven on to 150 Celsius. Place the baking tin on a baking tray (just in case some of the butter leaks out from the bottom during baking). Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes or until lightly golden.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the extra Sugar and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the shortbread from the tin carefully to avoid breaking it and cut the shortbread into squares or wedges. Place on a lined baking tray apart from each other and return to the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
I only left it to stand for 1 hour. I was impatient. Alice is right in saying to leave it as long as overnight because when I made the Brown Butter Shortbread recipe later, it made all the difference. The 'long' leaving allows for the butter to absorb completely into the flour, which 'shortens' and dries-out the dough which in turn makes for a delightfully crunchy, crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth texture.

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