I was, I was going to write about a Russian dish called vinegret this week - very popular, lots of beets, spectacular. But... I don't know, a rainy Sunday morning happened, I guess. It was typical Houston weather for this time of year: pouring tropical rain with glimpses of the sun in the morning, to be replaced by a hot, humid, sunny afternoon.
What is a family to do on a rainy morning but watch a movie? So we were all watching Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts (the kids loved it) and I was browsing the photostreams of some of my contacts on Flickr. And I was so inspired by the photography that I wanted to photograph something. Being a food blogger, of course, this means cooking something first and then photographing it.
Shortbread seemed perfect for a Sunday morning at home. So accompanied by the sounds of the movie and the rain, I rattled the baking sheets in the kitchen a little and here they were: buttery, crisp and crumbly cookies. Shortbread. I borrowed the idea of adding cornstarch to the dough from the folks at America's Test Kitchen, and I think it gave the shortbread extra tender crumb.
Despite its simplicity in ingredients, shortbread takes quite a while to bake. If you want something quicker, crescent nut cookies are just it. Grated cake with jam is also quick, and uses similar shortbread dough.
makes 16 cookies
1 3/4 cup (250 gr) flour
1/4 cup (40 gr) cornstarch
2/3 cup (140 gr) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 230 gr) cold butter
Line the bottom of 9-in (23 cm) round pan with a circle of parchment paper. Also line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425F (220C).
In a bowl of a standing mixer, mix dry ingredients. Cut butter into 1/2 in (1 cm) cubes, add to dry mixture. Mix at high speed until even crumbs form. Pour the crumbs into round pan, press into an even layer. Carefully invert onto baking sheet, remove paper disk. Using biscuit cutter, cut out a circle in the center, remove dough (bake the dough circle separately on the same sheet). Return biscuit cutter to the center.
Place in oven, immediately reduce temperature to 300F (150C). Bake 20 min. Remove from oven, score dough to divide into 16 even segments (do not cut all the way through). Dot with a wooden skewer. Return to oven, bake another 40 min, until golden. Transfer on paper to cutting board, cut on the scored lines. Cool completely. Shortbread can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week (but, frankly, what's the point?).