Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shortbread with Organic Butter

It's shortbread day!

Last weekend we traveled to Minnesota for Easter, so no baking (just eating).  Preparing for today, I researched shortbread ingredients.  Given butter as key, it was interesting to learn of the 2006 holiday tasting of butters in San Francisco.  None of the butters tested are available in our prairie city, but reading about them prompted me to take a closer look at local butter options.

For this week's shortbread I tried Organic Valley cultured butter, found at our Natural Abundance Food Co-op.  And it made a difference.  On tasting today's shortbread, my husband commented on the delicious buttery taste!

After the last shortbread attempt, I decided it was time to "cut to the chase" and avoid wild experimentation.  Today was also the day to take more time in preparation.  Instead of using the food processor, I used the mixer, beating the butter and sugar together until light, creamy colored, then adding the other ingredients.

I also dug out the sifter, and carefully sifted the powdered sugar and flour.  That sifter has been around a long time!  It was a garage sale purchase back when I outfitted my first apartment in the 70's.

The process of sifting, lightly spooning ingredients into measuring cups, and carefully leveling them off for accuracy brought back memories of 4-H baking for the Waseca, MN County Fair. I remember the teasing I got after my first year's cookies earned the lowest possible ribbon. If at first you don't succeed. . .

This week's careful measuring and preparation yielded improved results.  The shortbread had an "authentic" texture and flavor.  My preference is a lightly sweeter shortbread.  While many shortbread recipes call for corn starch, the jury's still out.  It seems to leave a powdery aftertaste.  And even though I used a smaller spring-form pan, the wedges were a bit thin for shortbread.  However, I do feel this project is moving in the right direction.

4.10.2010_Shortbread with Organic Butter (Grade-B+)
Pan:  8 inch spring-form
Oven temperature:  300 degrees F
Baking time:  33 minutes
Ingredients (blended with electric mixer)
     1/2 c. butter (organic cultured)
     1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar
     1/4 tsp. sea salt
     1 c. sifted all-purpose flour
     2 TB  corn starch

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