Friday, December 2, 2011
Despite the fact that everyone raved about my baking skills and the light, tender, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread I managed to create, the beauty of shortbread was lost on me. I simply used to throw about 5 pounds of butter in the huge, industrial Hobart mixer and put it on BEAT and walk away for about 10 minutes. When the mixer started to sound like the space shuttle about to take off, it was my cue to add flour and cornstarch and icing sugar, finishing the dough before the old gray Hobart launched itself into orbit. To say I used to abuse the dough was an understatement. I put so much disdain into making those cookies, that when people commented, "I can just taste the love that went into these", it was all I could do to stop my 18 year-old eyes from rolling back into my head. If only you knew - was what I'd think. Thankfully, the edit and pause buttons in my brain were still functioning in those days. I'd smile gracefully and nod my head.
To this day, I attribute beating the hell out of the butter to my shortbread success. That and Granny Knight's recipe - which I have duly repressed.
Last winter, I came across this recipe that would change my mind about shortbread forever.
Skor Shortbread. I mean - think about it - a Skor bar in any form is amazing, and baked up in this shortbread, it's nothing short of divine. You cannot go wrong.
These make great gifts. And they're easy - just mix, pat, bake and cut. No fancy shaping, no chilling and rolling out, no icing, just straight-up mix, pat, bake and cut. Easy-peasy. Go out and buy yourself some cute Christmas cookie tins, make a few batches, and you'll be set for those last-minute OMG-I-have-to-bring-something-along gifts.
2 - 39g Skor Chocolate Bars
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cup flour
Preheat oven to 300F.
Crush one Skor bar into rough, 1/4" pieces. Set aside remaining chocolate bar.
Beat butter until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.
Mix in vanilla and salt.
Using a mixing spoon, mix in 1 cup of flour until just mixed. Add chopped Skor bar along with remaining 1/4 cup flour.
Pat into an ungreased 8" square baking dish, and using floured fingers, pat into an even thickness. Pierce with a fork every 1".
Finely chop remaining chocolate bar, and sprinkle on top.
Bake on bottom rack of 300F preheated oven, about 35 to 40 minutes, until edges are golden brown and middle is pale golden. Immediately cut into squares. Cool completely in pan.
Buy the 4-pack of Skor bars at the grocery store. You can thank me when you make your second batch and don't have to run out for more.
If you have Skor baking bits, by all means, use them. I also add in a small handful of chocolate chips when substituting them and use my trusty Braun blender to chop everything finer than 1/4" pieces...I'm all about consistency like that. Your cookie - your choice.
I line my metal baking pan with parchment paper, this helps the unmolding.