Monday, August 3, 2009

S is for Santa and Shortbread......

Seeing how I have gotten into the Santa season a bit early...LOL...I thought that I would go all out and pull out some of my favorite Christmas recipes. Of course, you can use this shortbread one for so many other use your imagination....try this recipe and see what variation you like best or even share one that you whipped up. Anyone can do it...shortbread only has three basic ingredients....give it a go!!!

Basic Recipe (Tasty plain too, especially with a cup of hot peppermint tea)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)

**Combine flour and sugar in medium mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together. At this point, the dough may look dry, but the next step will take care of that. Form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. The heat from your hand softens the butter slightly, that is what makes the butter become so smooth.

**To make wedges, pat or roll dough into an 8-inch circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with your fingers to scallop the edge. (FYI:According to Scottish tradition, the scallops represent the rays of the sun) Cut the circle into 16 wedges, this will keep the bread from crumbling or breaking when you cut it after baking. Prick each wedge in it's center with a fork.

**Bake in a 325 oven for 25-30 minutes or until bottom just starts to turn brown and center is set. Cut circle into wedges in the same place as before while still warm. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

**If you like you can make these into rounds instead of wedges. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2" thick. Use a 1/2" thick cookie cutter to cut out 24 rounds. Place them 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Variations to try:

Cornmeal Shortbread (great with soups and chili)
Prepare basic recipe as directed, except substitute 1/4 cup cornmeal for 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and add 1/4 cup cheddar cheese...or 1/4 cup dried cranberries.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread
Prepare basic recipe as directed, except stir in 1 tablespoon poppy seed into flour mixture and add 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel with butter.

Oatmeal Shortbread (great for breakfast with a bit of jam, jelly or marmalade on top)
Prepare basic recipe as directed, except reduce all-purpose flour to 1 cup. After cutting in butter, stir in 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats.

Spiced Shortbread
Prepare basic recipe as directed, except substitute brown sugar for sugar; stir 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground gloves into the flour.

I hope that you try this is such an easy and changeable recipe for so many treats. The spice one would be great for Halloween...add some orange or red food coloring and you have Werewolf or vampire treats....LOL!!!!!

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