27 March 2012

Cookies: a Blog Off post


Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive when bloggers of all stripes weigh in on the same topic in something called a Blog Off. The topic of the current Blog Off is "cookies."

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I love shortbread with something that borders on an obsession and I played around with if for years until I perfected a recipe that produces a buttery, somewhat salty, somewhat sweet and perfectly sand textured shortbread. The ingredients couldn't be simpler, the art to this one comes from the perfect oven temperature and time spent therein.

I used to try to make these with a spoon, but they have to be of a uniform thickness or they won't have the right texture. On a lark I bought a cookie gun one year and it yielded the perfect shortbread cookie. Who knew? Some people call them cookie presses, but I call it a cookie gun. It makes me feel more macho that way.


Anyhow, I bought a Wilton Cookie Press (gun! it's a gun!) Pro Ultra 2. It's perfect --plenty of shapes and it's easy to load and clean.






My Ultimate Shortbread

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch  them like a hawk. Pull them out of the oven at precisely 8 minutes or they will scorch. Once they're out of the oven let them cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack. Sprinkle them with powdered sugar while they are still hot if you'd like.

That recipe will make enough shortbread to feed an army but fear not. Take the extras, throw them in a food processor, grind 'em up and make an amazing crust for a cheesecake.

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As the day wears on, there will appear below a table of all of the participating bloggers in today's Blog Off. Give 'em a read!

18 comments:

  1. Mmmmmmm! I can just imagine your shortbread cookies melting in my mouth! Can't go wrong with lots of butter and sugar :-) Next time in the mood for shortbread, I'm going to try your recipe. Oh, and I'll have to buy a cookie gun!

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  2. Those shortbread cookies sound amazing. I too love the short bread. Here is another great (easy) shortbread recipe that I think you would love:
    http://livinginthe513.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-you-love-panera-shortbread-cookies.html

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  3. That's one of the things I always wanted, a cookie gun. Every time I see one, I find myself thinking about the wonderful cookies I'd make with it. So far, it's just an occasional thought. On the other hand I have several nail guns!

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  4. Oh, man, I loooooove shortbread! I don't have a cookie gun (yet,) but I do have a cake decorating set. Decorating cakes is easier than it sounds, wonder if cookies guns are the same way...

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  5. What a surprising recipe: confectioners sugar and cornstarch! But I love shortbread and will try them. First I've got to get a gun, though.

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  6. Thanks for all the comments, gang. The key to shortbread is an almost chalky, melt-in-your-mouth texture and it's the corn starch that gets it there. For years I couldn't get my shortbread to taste and feel like anything other than a typical sugar cookie. Once I figured out that corn starch was going to take my shortbread where it needed to be I've never looked back. Adding finely minced, candied ginger to this recipe makes them even more sublime.

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  7. Great idea with the cheesecake crust! Yum!

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  8. A shortbread crust with cheesecake will make you forget about graham crackers all together!

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  9. Nice Paul, may have to try this one :)sounds great!

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  10. I think that this is pretty close, if not identical, to the recipe I use at Xmas time. I haven't used my cookie "gun" in ages though, thanks for that reminder.

    Much as I love this kind of shortbread, lately I've been missing the yummy stuff from my childhood that my dad would press into an 8x8 cake pan and bake for ages and then cut into squares when it was done. It's amazing how delicious that butter and sugar can be!

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  11. Boy is it good to hear from you Lisa. Butter and sugar are the staff of life. Sorry bread...

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  12. Paul,
    you can test your shortbreak recipe and cookie gun for me anytime. it sounds fantastic. do you need PO box address to deliver my order?

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  13. You have given me the perfect excuse to buy a cookie gun. Can I dip the cookies in chocolate? Maybe the bottom half and press two together, back to back.. that would take care of the massive amount at least by half.. right? Is my math correct? :-)

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  14. By the way.. after spending part of my weekend at the local fish and game club shooting my blackpowder rifle, the idea of a "cookie gun" seems hilarious to me!

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  15. I like the way you think Rufus and Nim I make up stuff like this to keep myself entertained all the time.

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  16. I had to laugh at the thought of you and your "gun". Sounds a superb recipe.

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  17. Rumour has it Paul, you're the quickest draw in the West. As far as Cornstarch goes, an old deterrent for baby-bottom diaper rash.
    Now back to the subject; this recipe sounds delish, so will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing. -Brenda-

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  18. Hey Brenda, corn starch has all kinds of uses and what it does to shortbread can't be over estimated. Try it!

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