Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sugared Lemon Shortbread

When it comes to heritage, I can claim German and Scottish. While both these cultures are wonderful and interesting and have many positive qualities, my bloodlines are quite possibly the worst hybrid of cuisines possible. My German brethren enjoy mounds of sauerkraut, a plethora of cured meats, and little schnitzel dumplings swimming in cream sauce. At least they have beer.

And then there's Scotland. I love all things Scottish, and bagpipes give me goosebumps, but I cannot think of a nation with less appealing food. You can hardly blame them, the Scots really don't have a lot to work with up there in that dreary cold land of bogs and fishing villages. All that comes to mind are bowls of ambiguous gruel and the delightful sounding haggis, which is a pate of sheep lung, heart and kidneys simmered in an animal stomach.

But then there's shortbread. Like the rest of Scottish food, the ingredients are few and simple. Shortbread is humanity's bare minimum for a cookie - sugar, butter, and flour. That's literally one ingredient away from frosting. But it is scrumptious. I can imagine it was pretty comforting to sit next to a fire in a sod house as the cold fog swirled outside, eating a piece of shortbread and drinking a hot cup of tea.

Shortbread is traditionally made with oat flour, which you may or may not be able to find in your grocery store in the natural/organic section. It gives it a more crumbly, nuttier taste. If you can't find oat flour, you can use regular flour. I did half and half because I wanted some gluten in there to hold everything together. The cookies turned out pretty crumbly, so I wrote the recipe using less oat flour. I also added lemon zest , which the poor Scots of yesteryear probably didn't have. But it's such a bright clean flavor, perfect with a steaming cup of darjeeling.

Sugared Lemon Shortbread
makes a 9" round of wedges
1/2 cup oat flour*
1.5 cup regular AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tsp lemon zest
*if you can't find oat flour, substitute regular AP flour

1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a bowl, whisk together two flours and salt.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar and lemon zest and beat until fluffy, about 30 sec.
3. Add flours and stir together until just incorporated. Line a 9" cake pan with plastic wrap. Pat dough into it. Turn dough round out onto cookie sheet. Slice it into 12 wedges and prick with a fork. [See photo above for reference].
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar. Reslice along wedge lines. Cool and enjoy with your favorite cup of tea.

1 comment:

  1. Give me shortbread any day. :) This looks so yummy and your presentation is awfully cute. Love the hobnail teacup and of course the little kitty cream pitcher. It's making me want to start a fire, grab a book, and have a spot of tea and a little shortbread cookie.


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