THE WEEK IN REVIEW---CLICK ON A TITLE TO GO TO THE POST
Monday, August 1, 2011
Asiago Lemon Thyme Shortbread
I love shortbread. It's such an elemental food; the rubbing together of flour and butter and sugar produces the most satisfying crumbly buttery texture when it's baked.
Usually I get the urge to make shortbread during the colder months, and shortbread cookies are a holiday gift giving staple in our house. But this savory version calls for a glass of wine on the deck. Perfect for entertaining. They'd be a great addition to a cheese board. And so much more satisfying than a cracker.
The great thing about shortbread is you can make it ahead and keep the dough in the fridge or freezer to slice and bake when you need it.
Lemon Thyme Shortbread (adapted from Ina Garten) Set the oven to 350
1 stick butter, cut in pieces 1 cup finely shredded asiago cheese (you can use Parmesan) zest of 1 lemon (don't skimp) 1 1/4 cups flour 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (I leave them whole so you can really see them studding the dough) 1/2 tsp salt lots of cracked pepper
There are two methods for making shortbread. One involves using your hands, the other a food processor. For the processor method you put the butter (cold or room temp) into the bowl of the processor along with all the other ingredients. You pulse it until the dough begins to come together...it will look crumbly and the machine will slow a little. It doesn't have to be in one lump. It takes a little experience to recognize this stage. You don't want to over-process the dough. To use your hands it's best to start with room temperature butter. With everything in a bowl just massage the butter into the flour. (Take your rings off first!) Do this until the dough starts to form and holds together in large crumbs.
Turn the dough out onto a board and form it into a 9 inch log, just like slice and bake cookies. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or longer. You can freeze the dough at this point, too.
When you are ready to bake, just slice the dough with a sharp knife to about 3/8 of an inch. Arrange the slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 15-18 minutes. Your kitchen will smell of lemon, cheese and thyme.
They should be very lightly browned, don't wait for too much color or they'll be very crispy. In general shortbread is fairly pale when it's fully cooked.
Note: These were so good I've already got plans to make more...how about cheddar black walnut, Rosemary with Marcona almond, or sun-dried tomato and pine nut?
Sue/the view from great island