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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Savory & Sweet Shortbread

I adore shortbread, store-bought, homemade, doesn't matter as long as it's got real honest-to-goodness butter.  And of course, the dough can be frozen ahead for later baking!

The savory shortbread here is from the Argo Cornstarch people, but I used brown rice flour instead of cornstarch for the wee bit of whole grain goodness it gives.  This shortbread is kind of like a biscuit, but more intense...a two-bite square is a good serving size to accompany a roast and something green or to serve as an appetizer.  The original called for twice as much cayenne pepper as I've indicated, but that turned out unpleasantly spicy.

The sweet shortbread is from Natalie Haughton's Cookies and, despite the similarity in batch size, does not make nearly as many servings as the savory...at least not at my house.

Pepper Parmesan Shortbread
Makes 36 servings
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cornstarch or rice flour
3/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp milk + 1 tsp coarse ground pepper for topping

Combine the flour, cheese, cornstarch or rice flour and spices in the bowl of a food processor.  Add cubed butter and pulse until the mixture looks like oatmeal.  Turn out into a bowl and stir in sour cream until the mixture just holds together.  Press into a 8x8 baking pan (disposable if you want to freeze ahead), or divide in half and form 2 1-1/2" diameter logs.  Brush the top of the dough (either form) with milk and sprinkle on pepper.  You can freeze either form now to bake later.  If you made logs, you'll need to at least chill them for a couple of hours before slicing if you aren't freezing ahead.

Thaw dough if frozen.  Slice logs, if using, into 1/4" slices.  Bake at 325F for 20 minutes for slices and about 45 minutes for the 8x8 pan. 

Scottish Shortbread
Makes 9 cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup rice flour
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add rice flour and AP flour.  Knead mixture together until no longer crumbly.  Press into 8x8 pan.  Freeze now or bake for 35-45 minutes at 325F. 
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