Posts tagged short bread
Enchanted Cherry Shortbread Bars
Easy-Peasy Cherry Bars
When I am old she will shuttle me from one slot machine to the next, sweeping her long grey hair out of the way as she pulls my heavily ladened wheelchair across the once vibrant carpet of the casino. The dings and shouts that used to distract me will distantly call and I will squint to see the display, but I'll be delighted at every two dollar win because it will be time spent with Malai. Laughing with her over nothing is the best laugh in the world.

She loves me because these bars are enchanted. Once every year or so, I bake a pan of Cherry Shortbread, she eats a few and she's my friend forever all over again. What's the secret ingredient? Muhaha! (the canned cherry pie filling)

So when I forget how to make them, here it is, written, to remind myself 

1 pound of butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

1-21 ounce can of cherry pie filling (can you believe it?) I'd pit cherries for this but why mess with a good thing. 

Preheat oven 350 degrees. 
Cream butter and sugar. Add salt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir slowly to combine. It will form together in a mass. 

Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Press a little over half the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pour over the cherry pie filling. Spread it evenly as possible. Distribute the remaining dough in little pieces over the cherry filling. Bake for 60-70 minutes until none of the topping looks raw and it is firmish to the touch in the center of the pan. 

Cool, slice and bribe your way into old age. 
Fennel and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Not too fennely. Just the right sweetness. 
The Neighbor has a lovely garden. In the garden grows fennel among many other things. The Neighbor being the kind woman that she is allows me to pinch things here and there. She also will feed my kitties when I leave town for a fun weekend.

I offer to pay her in cookies. She enjoys shortbread, any shortbread is good, but something with difference is welcome.

I put these together.

Fennel & Lemon Zest Shortbread

1 cup butter
0.5 cup powdered sugar
0.25 cup cornstarch
1.50 cup flour
1 teaspoon fresh fennel seed, plus twenty for decorating (or used dried ones and do what you can to grind them)
0.50 teaspoon lemon zest
0.50 teaspoon sea salt

more sea salt for sprinkling-big crystal sugar for sprinkling too.

In a stand mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar. Blend well. Mince the fennel seeds and zest as finely as you can. If you sea salt it big, add it to the cutting board with the seeds and zest and make it smaller too. To the butter and sugar mixture add the remaining ingredients. Run the mixture stopping the scrape the sides. Keep the machine running until the dough comes together.  It will look like it will not, but magically it does! Don't look away and stop the machine as soon as the dough as cohesive. If it runs too long you'll get tough cookies.

On a parchment lined pan scoop (I use 0.75 ounce) the dough. It makes twenty cookies. Using the bottom of a glass, dipped in flour, your hand or other flattish thing (I actually used a large measuring spoon to get the cookies pictured with the cutie meadow in the middle look) flatten the cookies. Put a fennel seed in the center of each. It's pretty but it also says, "this is a special cookie." Put a few grains of salt on top and some big sugar.

So pretty.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Put them on a fancy plate or in a baggie and give half to your neighbor. The other half are for you. I mean who gives away a full batch of cookies, ever?

Short Bread Fans or Fans of Short Bread

Fans, the decorative edges can be done with a fork.
Making short bread in the shape of fans is a traditional way of forming the cookie.  I think baking them scored keeps the edges from drying out. And it's quick to make four fatty cookies, flatten them then score with a fork. They really are not at all fussy.

I have a friend who when she is under the weather I make her these short bread fan cookies, well because my friend is fans of short bread. Plus I always have the ingredients on hand.

Short Bread Fan Cookie

1 cup butter, room temperature
0.25 cup cornstarch
0.5 cup powdered sugar
1.5 cup white flour

kosher salt for sprinkling (optional).

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer combine the butter, cornstarch, flour, and powered sugar. Start with a light touch and low speed because the ingredients are easily going to fly. I used to beat the sugar into the butter first, but found it's not necessary. It will seem as if the ingredients are dry and powdery for longer than it should, but stick with it. As the butter warms up the crumb gets moister. Stop mixing when you can form a pinch of the dough into a ball easily.

About a half cup of dough is needed per large cookie.
On a parchment lined cookie sheet make four big cookies. Press the tines into the outside half inch of the cookie to be decorative. I used a wavy cookie cutter for the pictured cookies. Score each cookie into 8 wedges, using a fork. Sprinkle lightly with salt if you are using it. Bake for 15-18 minutes, when the edge of a cookie is tan and the centers no longer look oily. Remove, cool, and cut with a sharp knife along the score marks.

Cooling on the parchment, waiting to be cut apart.
Share with friends or hoard for yourself.