Hey, I am back, after a long silence! Lot’s of things have changed in my life in these many months, slowly I will unfold the stories, in the meantime, I would like to gift you all with my shortbread recipe.
No big deal you all say, fine, try it and you’ll see what I mean! I just love the buttery consistency that melts in your mouth and the not overwhelming sweetness of this shortbread, the lemony accent in the end, and that exotic scent that you can’t quite place… what is it, vanilla?
Once you figure out how to reach the perfect consistency (and of course I will help you on that), no shortbread will ever be the same, trust me on this one: many many years of “thank you gifts” up my sleeve.
So, let’s get to it.
Last week we had a big dump of snow, well big by Torontonian standards… up there in the Northwest Territories are probably still laughing at us! So, anyways, we were left with a good 45 maybe 50 cm of snow (17/19 inches) and The Fisherman Syndrome… and guess what? We had to shovel (Canadian next official Olimpic sport), all of it, lots of white beautiful snow, lots of white snow, lots of lots of snow, lots, just too much.
I am not going to bore you with the details, but the volume of it was just discouraging, sooooo, I walked up the street, to Steve and Marlyns’ house. A beautiful little cottage-like house here at the Beaches, I said “hi”, introduced myself, and I bartered cookies, these cookies, for a snow-blowing service.
My nonna (or for that matter, all nonnas in Italy) used to say that: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. True, almost. For sure food, the one made with good stuff and love is a good way to say thank you and I love you.
- 400 gr all purpose of pastry flour
- 200 gr cold, unsalted and very good quality butter
- 200 gr sugar
- 5 or 6 large egg yolks
- zest 1 lemon
- pinch of salt
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- ½ cup of Raspberry or Black Cherry Jam
- First of all, lets' make sure the butter is cold and cut into small chunks
- Get a big bowl, and with the tips of your fingers work the butter into the flour. Rub the fingers between them, work fast and be effective. The butter has to feel cold and solid. Work it until you end up with small tiny crumbs, almost the consistency of a "thicker" flour
- Add the sugar and the lemon zest and the salt and mix fast with the tip of your fingers
- Now add 5 of the yolks and the vanilla and start kneading, just enough to get the dough to come together, you will be able to tell right away if you need the extra yolk. Knead as little as possible, you do not want to develop any gluten or melt the butter. In both cases, you will end up with a snappy cookie rather than a meltinyuormounth consistency
- Punch down the dough to a flat shape about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and set it to rest for at least half an hour in the fridge
- Pull it from the fridge and let it rest for 10 minutes, give it a quick knead and get ready to rock and rolling
- I use a rolling pin that is made of marble or some other heavy stone, but you can use pretty much anything, the plus of a heavy pin is that you do less work
- For these type of cookies, because they are paired up, I like to roll the dough to a thickness of 4 mm (a tiny more than ⅛ of an inch)
- Cook them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for 12/16 or so minutes at 175° C (350° F), rotating the tray a couple of times. The proper timing will depend really on the type of oven you are using and on the thickness of the boys. What you are looking for is a golden brown color at the bottom. Do not wait for for the cookies to turn hard, they will not until they are overcooked. Because of the butter, they will feel soft until they are cool.
- Once cooked, using a spatula transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before adding the filling
This dough can be made ahead of time and even frozen
Substitute vanilla with a little of cinnamon or other spice that you like for a different mood
Don’t know what to do with all those egg-whites, how about a nice meringue?