Saturday, April 23, 2005

Shortbread from Christy (April 3, 2001)

This just keeps getting better and better! Laurie, I can't wait to try your sausage recipes. I think I might be able to tempt James into eating beans if there's sausage involved. Could I get you to send out your cornbread recipe? I've tried dozens of recipes, but I've never found one I liked.

I think the cast iron skillet should work well for the pork recipe. I have a cast iron skillet that I love, but unfortunately it's small. I used it every day when I lived alone, but it's usually not big enough for meals for two.

Katie's recipes sound good too. I'd especially like to have the biscuits and gravy if she's willing to share.

Mom, thanks for the Texas casserole recipe. I love that stuff.

Ed, I wanted to ask where you sign up for the recipes you get over e-mail. That sounds like an awfully good idea to me. I, too, have trouble finding time to try new things. If I do try something, it's usually on the weekend; we're lucky to get a homecooked meal during the week, let alone an innovative one.

I'm going to send out from memory a recipe that I think I managed to burn into my brain this weekend. I ended up going to New York--yes, New York--for the express purpose of baking a cookie. The Center for Book Arts there has an Edible Book Tea every year. It's a fundraiser for them; a jury selects several artists to make books out of edible materials, and then they auction them off and the funds go to the Center. I sent them a proposal for a book made out of shortbread, and they accepted it! (I was thrilled.) We were able to get reasonably-priced tickets at the last minute, so I spent Saturday and Sunday baking in my friend Barbara's kitchen in Brooklyn, and my book was auctioned off Sunday afternoon.

This recipe makes a nice rich cookie. It held together pretty well, even though I made huge pages (two batches of dough each).

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup sifted flour (I don't usually sift, but it's important for this recipe)
2 Tb cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325. Cream the butter. Add the sugar slowly and cream until fluffy. Mix the dry ingredients together; use a pastry blender to combine with the butter and sugar, mixing well. The dough will be a bit crumbly, but should hang together when formed into a ball with your hands. You can either pat it out into a round or roll it out and cut into shapes; in either case, don't roll it too thin. Put the prepared dough onto a cookie sheet and prick it all over with a toothpick or a fork. If you're making a round, score it into eight or sixteen wedges. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and bake the cookies, watching carefully. They should turn slightly golden but should not brown. The round could take up to 40 minutes; smaller shapes may take 15 minutes or even less.

Hope you're all well. It's crazy here, too--Spring Quarter has started.




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