Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Guest Post: Ange's Shortbread Cookies

My lovely friend, Melissa, wrote up this guest post that is perfect for the cold weather and the holiday season. Not only does the recipe sound good, but I have tasted it, so I can vouch for its buttery, flaky deliciousness. Remember, if you also want to guest post, please don't hesitate to contact me. Enjoy!
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I have always been a “cook” not a baker, when it comes to the time I spend in the kitchen. In fact, the idea of baking anything, especially cookies, would cause a reaction in me similar to when you say Brussels Sprouts to a four-year-old.  Ick.  It was so time-consuming and exact... ugh.  But suddenly something happened… maybe it was all of the delicious desserts seen in every magazine and tv show, maybe it was my Great Aunt’s years of scratch pies calling me home. Whatever it was, I finally started baking.  And the more I baked, the more I loved it.  And found out that baking is EASY. And the exacting nature of baking turned it into a challenge to try more and more difficult items and accomplish it and do it well.  The feeling of finishing a beautiful, complicated homemade cake could never compare to anything I put together on the stove for dinner. So, I guess I call myself a baker now and I love it! 
My friend Ange has been making this shortbread recipe for us for years. And every time she shows up with a plate of it the entire plate will be devoured in a matter of minutes, all of us picking the crumbs off the plate with our fingers when whole cookies are gone.  Shortbread is such a classic, simple, delicious taste and something I’ve never made before, so I thought I would give it a shot.  And, yep, Easy!  Turns out I’ve actually been making shortbread for a while now, I just called it crust and didn’t think about it being the same thing.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients
Two (2) cups of flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup powdered sugar
(Ange calls it Icing Sugar because she’s from New Zealand… sounds more fun that way!)
One (1) cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
softened
One (1) teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond extract is a good substitute as well)
Two (2) tablespoons of granulated sugar
Two (2) ounces of shredded coconut (optional)**


Directions
Preheat oven
to 350F degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and powdered sugar.
**I have this bag of shredded, sweetened coconut that always shows up when I’m gathering all of my other baking items out of the pantry. And each time it shows up in my hand I find myself asking the question… would coconut work in this?  Inevitably, the answer is always yes!  So, I toasted some (for those who need a more technical measurement other than “some” I googled other recipes and they use about 2 oz) and tossed it in with the dry ingredients.
Add in
butter and vanilla extract.
Mix everything
together until forms stiff dough (like pie crust).
Spray
a 9” cake pan with non-stick spray if necessary, and pat the dough into the pan.
Prick the top
of the dough all over with the tines of a fork and then top with 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.


Bake for 30-35 minutes until it is golden brown on top.   
Cut it into wedges
(like pie) while still warm, and then cool on a rack.
Avoid
eating the whole pan while you are standing at the kitchen counter.
Heat
yourself some yummy drink, relax and enjoy!





Having lived in the Baltimore area for 20 years now, Melissa considers herself an honorary Bawlmer girl. She works in the hospitality industry and fosters dogs for MidAtlantic BullyBuddies in addition to owning a Pit-bull mixed named VooDoo and her very own Angry Cat. In her spare time, she drinks a lot of wine and practices her culinary and baking skills on her husband Steve who will generally eat anything that doesn't have brussels sprouts in it.