Wow! Nothing like a five-day trip to Seattle, along with a full-time job and a household that includes my beautiful wife and a very active nine-year-old boy to throw off my blogging routine for a couple of weeks. Actually, I’m new enough at this that I don’t really have a routine. Clearly, I need to establish one and I need to make sure it allows for the intrusions of real life. I had some terrific adventures while in Seattle though and I promise to share them soon.
Speaking of sharing, isn’t that one of the common bonds of those of us who spend so much time in the kitchen? We enjoy the challenge of creating. For our own personal pleasure we want to get it just right. But when we include family and friends in the results of our work, it ratchets that pleasure up a few notches. At least I know it does for me. Recently, I encountered an unexpected sharing opportunity that I want to, well, share with you.
I was in the kitchen taking my first shot at making shortbread, specifically Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies. As I was getting them into the oven our friend Rachel came by to do some freelance bookkeeping work for my beautiful wife. A few minutes later the smell of the baking butter/sugar/flour got to her. She asked what I was making and I told her. She thought it sounded yummy. Of course, when the cookies were done a few minutes later I had to share. I wound up giving her half-a-dozen cookies in a bag for her and her husband, Daniel to enjoy at home. By the way, Daniel owns a sign making company here in the Nashville area and Rachel writes their blog, cleverly called The Signmaker’s Wife. Check it out when you get a chance.
Thanks, Rachel, for your fortuitous timing that allowed me to share my Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies with you and your family!
Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
The obligatory ingredients picture:
Cream two sticks of unsalted butter with 3/4 cup soft brown sugar. In a separate bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of rice flour, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice. I’d never heard of mixed spice and had a hard time finding reference to it anywhere. Eventually I found this recipe, which is what I used. [Note to self, do a future blog post on spice mixes. Turns out there are many of them!] Add the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar and mix with a spoon or spatula until the dough comes together. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Shape it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and pop it into the fridge for 20 minutes.
Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into four pieces (this makes it easier to work with). Roll with a rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Use biscuit/cookie cutters to make the cookies. You can use whatever you have, but I wanted to keep mine on the small side, so I used my round and square biscuit cutters and some other small cookie cutters I had in the pantry.
Put the cut-out dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Re-use the scraps and roll & cut until you’ve used all the dough. Repeat for the other 3/4 of the dough. I got about three dozen cookies total.
Bake at 315° F for 15 to 20 minutes (mine took 20), let them cool for a bit, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy. And be sure to share!