Saturday, 2 April 2011
I have a confession.
I broke Lent.
The thing I gave up this Lenten season is cookies.
This is roughly the timeline of how it went down...Pledge made = Ash Wednesday. Contraband cookie intake = That Saturday. Lent FAIL.
I just completely forgot! I was back up in Auckland for my Grandmother's funeral and itching to bake something in my own kitchen and the only cookie I had time and the ingredients to make was these Crumbly Buttery Shortbread and every cook knows you have to taste each step of the way to make sure everything is ok: Cookie batter? Check. Cookie straight out of the oven? Check. Cookie cooling on the rack but still warm? Check. Cookie when cold? Check. Cookie a couple of hours later just to check they are still crumbly and crispy? Check. Cookie the next day? Check.
All highly essential parts of the baking process of course.
I haven't broken Lent again since though! Which, might I add, is no mean feat....I lurrrrve cookies. I love baking them, I love eating them, I love giving them away. They are the perfect little sweet morsel to go with a hot cup of tea or coffee. So to not have any cookies for 40 days and 40 nights is Kind of A Big Deal. So one minor slip up is ok right??
If there was any cookie to break Lent for, I'm glad it was this one. This shortbread is a total fav - buttery and crumbly without being gluggy. It melts in your mouth and keeps making you go back for more. Not to mention, you will pretty much always have the ingredients to make this in your pantry: butter, eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. Easy!
They make great little gifts too. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like shortbread. So simple but so good. Buttery vanillary goodness. An absolute heavyweight in the cookie 500 even if it isn't quite a glamour cookie. It was my dad's ultimate cookie - he loved dunking them in hot milo and letting them go all soggy.
Never really understood the whole dunking thing really - I like my cookies straight up. If cookies were an alcohol I'd shot them. I could be tempted to dunk gingernuts though (I've heard they dunk particularly well) but soggy cookie just doesn't hold any magic for moi. Do you like dunking your cookies? What's your fav dunker?
And I'd love to know...are you giving up anything for Lent this year?
Buttery Crumbly Vanilla Shortbread
makes around 30 cookies
225 g butter, softened
170 g castor sugar
1 small egg
390 g flour, sifted (I usually only end up using ~330g)
1 tsp vanilla
1. Beat softened butter and sugar together until very fluffy (this will take around 2 minutes ~ give it a good old beating).
2. Add egg, salt and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes till fluffy and light.
3. Add half the flour and mix gently with a knife till just incorporated. Add half of the rest of the flour and mix again. And keep adding until you get the mixture is not too sticky but wet enough to hold together, kinda like soft playdough. You might not need all the flour or you may need to add a little more (depends how big your egg was). I usually only end up using 3/4 of the flour ~ 320g.
4. At this point you can just shape the dough into a rough log and cut and bake right away or you can roll them into a log and refrigerate to make nice round cookies. To get the round cookies: Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and put about half of the dough in the middle. Shape into a log roughly using your hands then wrap up the log with the plastic wrap twisting the ends together like a lolly and roll into a nice round log. Refrigerate for around 30 mins until the log is firm enough to cut.
5. Preheat the oven to 150oC on fanbake and line two cookie trays with baking paper. Cut the log into 1 cm discs and arrange on the baking trays around 1 inch apart.
6. Bake both trays at the same time for 20 minutes turning once in the middle (top tray to bottom, bottom tray to top).
7. Cool on the tray for around 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. They are delicious still warm but just as good when completely cool and crumbly. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for around 4 days.