Sunday, August 8, 2010

Almond Shortbread 1

Yesterday was shortbread day.  I love Saturdays!

One of the most enjoyable parts of this shortbread journey as been reading and learning about cookie baking.  I think I've checked out every book from our public library on cookies.

It's interesting that traditional cookies from so many countries use the same basic shortbread ingredients of butter, sugar and flour.  The amounts, shapes and added flavorings give each cookie it's uniqueness.

I've been wanting to make almond shortbread.  In Jennifer Dorland Darling's book, Cookies for Christmas, there is a recipe for Almond Galettes, with butter/sugar/flour in the same proportions as shortbread.

Another fun part of the shortbread journey has been finding and cooking with ingredients I've not tried before.  The Almond Galettes use almond paste.

Locating almond paste here on the prairie was an exercise in patience.  The store that usually carries it was sold out.  I spent several lunch hours trying to locate it in our other grocery stores, but they don't carry it.  After a week, almond paste was back in stock, and I was on my way, thinking philosophically what it must have been like to have pioneered here in the nineteenth century.

Working with the almond paste was a learning experience.  I cut it in a few chunks and tossed it in the food processor with the butter and sugar.  It's tough stuff!  Even Cuisinart couldn't budge it.  I ended up actually following the Galettes instructions (imagine that), manually crumbling the paste, and re-adding it to the processor.

Only after making the shortbread did I read the almond paste ingredients.  It contains 45% almonds, but  also sugar and glucose syrup. The shortbread came out very soft and sweet, and browned easily.  My husband likes dipping it in milk, but it's not very successful as shortbread.

Though I won't make it again, here's the recipe:

8.07.2010_Almond Shortbread 1
Pan:  two-8 inch cast iron skillets
Oven temperature:  300 degrees F
Baking time:  45 minutes
Ingredients (blended in food processor)
     2/3 c.    powdered sugar
        1 c.     butter (salted)
       7 oz.    tube almond paste
     1/2 tsp. almond extract
     1/2 tsp. dried lemon peel
    1 3/4 c.  wheat flour
       1/2 c.  white rice flour

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