Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Very Best Shortbread

Recipe Number Forty Four:  Page 231.

With a title that makes such a confident statement, I felt assured that this shortbread would be the best shortbread I had ever had or would ever taste. I was really looking forward to making it but, as usual, it took me ages to get round to it. For a change, the reason for the delay was due to a very productive day where I managed to get lots of jobs done. I think Neil was a little shocked to come home to such a domestic goddess. I made sure that I reassured him that this was probably a one off; lightening doesn't usually strike twice in the same place after all!!!

This was such an easy and straightforward recipe to follow; I managed to cook dinner at the same time, without any disasters! I weighed all of the ingredients into my weighing scales and just about managed to fit everything in. I liked the fact that semolina is used in this recipe; it gives a crunchy, grainy texture. However, I was not happy about the amount of butter that is used, nearly a whole packet! Maybe I should have my cholesterol tested. I expect my arteries are furring up nicely, but perhaps it is best not to know?! To avoid an excessive amount of washing up, my weighing bowl also doubled up as a mixing bowl; I rubbed all the ingredients together until it started to form a soft dough. I pressed the dough into my traybake tin and pricked it all over with a fork. I wondered if using a pretty mould would make for a more impressive shortbread. I have seen some lovely ones on Facebook and have been informed that you can get really good ones on eBay. Oh well, too late for this one, but it is a thought for next time.

Luckily we have a decent sized fridge as, instead of the shortbread going straight into the oven, it needed to go into the fridge to firm up. We had recently had a food delivery so the fridge was chock a block! I managed to wedge the tray in somehow, but it was tricky extracting it later on. After the 30 minutes or so of 'firming up', the shortbread could now head to the oven where it cooked on a low heat.

Whilst the shortbread was cooking, we enjoyed the delicious aroma emanating from the oven, it smelled wonderful. We just hoped it would taste as good. Once out of the oven, I gave the shortbread a generous sprinkle of demerara sugar and left it to cool for a few minutes before cutting it into fingers. I then tried to remove the fingers from the tin, not easy, they were very crumbly. I decided to leave it to cool whilst we tucked into our dinner. An hour later I had another go at removing the shortbread fingers from the tin and this time I didn't have any problems; they came out unscathed. Once the shortbread fingers were cold Neil and I tried a little piece each. The fingers were quite soft; we were expecting more of a crunch. The flavour was lovely and buttery, just how a good shortbread should taste. They really are very tasty and one of the easiest things I have ever made. You could almost do it blindfolded, well almost! I can also highly recommend indulging on a shortbread finger or two with an accompanying hot chocolate, heaven!
Variation: Orange Shortbread

I've never considered adding different flavours to shortbread. I'd worry that the delicious buttery taste might be lost. However, Neil thought it sounded wonderful and eagerly waited to commence his taste testing duties!

As with the original recipe the shortbread was easy peasy to make. I got so carried away I almost forgot to add in the orange zest (now that would of been annoying)! The mixture smelt heavenly thanks to the fruity orange. It was hard to resist eating it raw! The scent became even more intense whilst cooking in the oven. When we come to sell our house perhaps I'll try cooking this instead of the suggested fresh bread!!

After what felt like forever we were able to sample a finger of shortbread. Just like the original recipe it was soft and crumbly. There was just a hint of orange. If I hadn't known it to be there I'm not sure I'd have noticed it. If I try it again, I might use a larger orange. We all really enjoyed this shortbread and I doubt it will be hanging around too long!

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