25 December 2010

Savory & Sweet Shortbread

I was perusing some of my favorite blogs last week to see what fun others are cooking up this time of year.  One of the most interesting recipes I came across was from www.101cookbooks.com and was a Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread recipe that caught my eye.  So, I tried it out with just a few differences from the original recipe and WOW!  These are really fabulous shortbreads!  Here is Heidi Swanson's recipe from 101 Cookbooks and I used orange zest instead of lemon.

I used my Grandmother's "card club" cookie cutters, which totally crack up anyone of age 55 or older!  The "diamond" is my favorite and it seems to keep the shortbreads nice and sturdy, as well as quite uniform.  Plus these are the perfect size for 2 bite cookies!

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Recipe

2 cups white whole-wheat flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
scant teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (natural cane) sugar
zest of one lemon
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and loosely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Combine flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate large bowl or stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix again, then add the flour mixture, nuts, and rosemary and mix until the dough goes just past the crumbly stage, and begins to really clump together (you don't want to over mix, but under mixing will make the dough seem a bit dry, which can make it difficult to handle). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough just once or twice to bring it together, then divide it into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper of a Silpat mat. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into whatever shapes you desire, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sometimes I chill the dough in the freezer for another 10 minutes, it seems to help the cookies hold their shape - but you don't have to. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are beginning to brown on the bottom. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookies, taking less time for smaller cookies.
Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.
Variation: use chopped raw or toasted walnuts and 1 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee in place of the lemon, pine nuts, and rosemary.

The only tip not noted in the recipe is to remove the cookies from the baking sheet after cooling about 10 minutes, otherwise they really stick tight!  I stored mine in a tin to keep them a bit crispy, the ziploc stored were a bit too soft for my liking!

Enjoy with you favorite cup of tea!


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