Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shortbread in Cast Iron

This week's baking brought discovery of the pan I'll use for shortbread:  a cast iron skillet!  I ordered a  Lodge 8-inch preseasoned skillet and it works beautifully.  It's the perfect size for my small test batches, using 1/2 cup of butter.  And the shortbread bakes very evenly.

As I've been asking my husband, Skip, to taste test lots of shortbread, he asked a great question:  "What are you aiming for as the perfect shortbread?"  For me, it's Walker's.  I'd like to consistently make shortbread like Walker's.

Of course, I had no choice but to go out and buy some Walker's shortbread for Skip to taste, and for me to reconfirm my goal.  It's just so good- how do they do it?  My shortbread is  white and light in comparison.  It doesn't have the right texture. It needs to be coarser.

This week I thought I'd try to make the shortbread texture more course by adding some granulated sugar.  I also used a bit of brown rice flour for color.  And the butter was Crystal Farms European Style.

The result was OK shortbread, not great, but not horrible either.  I'll not use granulated sugar again.  It definitely didn't give the results I was aiming for.  I'm not fond of the brown rice flour flavor, either.  As for the process, I used the mixer to whip the butter and sugar, then added the flours.

4.17.2010_Shortbread in Cast Iron (Grade-B)
Pan:  8 inch cast iron skillet
Oven temperature:  300 degrees F
Baking time:  38 minutes
Ingredients (blended with electric mixer)
     1/2 c. butter (European style)
     1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar
     2 TB granulated sugar
     1/4 tsp. sea salt
     1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
     2 TB  brown rice flour

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