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Monday, February 25th, 2008

Shortbread Cookies

shortbread.JPGWanting to make cookies but having no sugar can prove problematic. I’ll tell you how we ran out of sugar. When the new Costco in Columbia opened they had a new product a giant, I mean GIANT bag of organic fair trade sugar. We got hooked and we got low I went back for more but there wasn’t any. So instead of figuring out an alternative I griped about it and hoped the situation would resolve. Meanwhile, the amount of sugar we had on hand reached a critical low this morning. Thankfully there was enough left for coffee because I don’t want to think about what could have happened if there wasn’t. We’d have been trying to sweeten our java with whatever we could find, tootsie rolls, hard candies or god forbid, honey.

I did manage to stop on the way home tonight to grab some but decided earlier today to make cookies… which was tricky. I was in a hurry, the butter was still a little cooler than room temp so I grabbed down the Better Homes & Gardens book for something quick and basic. Shortbread! Three ingredients and a few minutes later it was ready for the oven. This recipe is so easy it’s already in the mental file. I looked at all the variations quickly and decided to just wing it. I basically settled on butter-pecan sans pecan… so butter… shortbread. The gist of it is I subbed brown sugar which I still had on hand for granulated.

Bake at 325, Yield 16 wedges

1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c butter (still cool) cut into smallish pieces
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine flour and sugar and cut in butter. (I used a pastry blender before deciding to throw it on the kitchen aide. Next time I’ll skip that first step) When the butter is cut in and mixture looks like crumbs drizzle the vanilla in and continue to mix it until it all comes together. (I was tempted to take it off too soon but if you leave it on the dough will eventually come together in one smooth ball and the bowl of the mixer will be almost completely clean)

Pat the dough into an 8″ circle. (I did this on top of a silpat right on the baking sheet but I think the original recipe called for patting on a floured surface. I probably still would have done it right on the sheet). I fluted the edges a little like a pie crust but you could skip that. Then cut the circle into 16 wedges (but don’t move them) and pop into the oven for 25 minutes. When the cookies are done they will still be pretty soft. Let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes, re-cut them while they’re still warm because they will have fused together again while baking. Finish cooling them on a rack.

These cookies are yummy considering that they’re made from nothing. They are crumbly and chewy and, as Ben exclaimed, taste just like shortbread. The brown sugar of course makes them a little unusual but I love brown sugar and what it does for a cookie. I think this latest sugar escapade is just the thing to launch me into my next thing…. cleaning out the freezers.

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