Friday, December 31, 2010

December Roundup

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Such a perfect challenge for December. Thank you Nancy! I love the all the varieties that were posted.

I hope everyone got what they were wishing for this holiday season. I am still debating what to gift myself. I'm thinking about a standing mixer (seriously, how pretty is this mixer?!) and a dehydrator. There are so many recipes that use dried fruit that I thought it would be fun to do it myself.

As a gift to the Have the Cake family of bloggers and readers, is offering a 10% discount! (that mixer is so going to be mine) Please scroll to the end of the post for details.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. Looking forward to baking with you in 2011.
 discount for Have the Cake
The discount code is: 121745, good for 10% off Overstock products (excluding movies, books, and electronics). This discount code never expires, however, it can only be used once per email address. 202234 - free shipping promo code for electronics.

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

Monday, December 27, 2010

You Had Me at "Short"

Posted by - Dorrie (SweetyetSour)

Any baking project with the word, "short" in it appeals to me since I have a 9 month-old and a two-year old, so when this month's baking challenge turned out to be shortbread, I knew I could come through!

I even exceeded myself and made two different kinds! Both shortbread versions are thanks to my handy, "Short & Sweet" book by Melanie Barnard (I love this book!).

I made both Cranberry-Orange Shortbread and Honey Nut Shortbread. Both begin with the same wonderful ingredient:

Ah! Butter!
Ah! Butter!

For the Cranberry-Orange Shortbread I used:

Cranberries and Orange Peel
Cranberries and Orange Peel

8 Tblsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 Tblsp. grated orange peel

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degress. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and melt. Remove the pan from the heat stir in the orange peel, cranberries and powdered sugar. Then stir in the flour making a stiff dough. Spread the dough into an ungreased 8 x 8 square pan and bake until the shortbread is golden brown at the edges, about 20 minutes. After it cools cut into squares, cool again and then remove from the pan.

These were lovely, but I only had dried orange peel around, and they would have been better with fresh orange peel.

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread
Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

The Honey Nut Shortbread began with the same buttery main ingredient, along with these:

Honey, Nuts and Vanilla
Honey, Nuts and Vanilla

(Our lovely babysitter read my Christmas list on the refrigerator and provided me with the Mexican Vanilla extract I wanted, complete with sombrero and serape!)

For the Honey Nut Shortbread use:

8 Tblsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted mixed nuts

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Again, preheat the oven to 350 and set out an ungreased 8 x 8 square pan. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and when melted remove from the stove. Add in the honey, vanilla, and nuts. Then stir in the flour to make the dough stiff. Spread in the pan and bake until golden and firm at the edges, about 22-25 minutes. Cool again before cutting and then cool further before removing these from the pan.

The Honey Nut Shortbreads were easy and beautiful,

Honey Nut Shortbread
Honey Nut Shortbread

but I think Cranberry-Orange ones were my favorite.

Either way, I loved this challenge because it was easy, used ingredients I have around the house anyway and allowed me to make it and quickly get back to these guys:

Henry and Anna
Henry and Anna
Gotta love that!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shortbread that is Quite Long

Posted by - Chaya

Over the past month, I made a few different shortbread recipes, all coming out nicely, at least I think they are shortbread.

 Sables - Baking with Dorie 
 Tonight, I made a batch of shortbread just for Have The Cake and here it is.

For the recipe and what this should really look like, please go here.

I decided to include this.  I have no time or confidence to make a new batch.  Perhaps, humor has found a new home, here.
I have given you the link for the first two photos.  They were good as I am sure these would be, if I knew what I did wrong.  I did cut the recipe in half and went back to check, if I had forgotten anything but no, I seem to be right on target.  I have no idea what I did and poor hubby has no cookies to eat.

The dough was in the refrigerator for hours and it handled beautifully.  I was just commenting on what a pleasure it was to use the dough, when I opened the oven door and found the above.

Now, I am off to see all of your successes.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chistmas Eve Shortbread

Posted by - Nancy

By the time this morning rolled around I thought I had pushed my luck, and time, for baking my shortbread far enough. You see, I am now "full term", so once labor starts, there is no stopping it until the baby is here. And while I haven't had any signs of major labor yet, I have had some contractions. So, since my mom is here and my husband was home to help wrangle the toddler, I baked shortbread.


I decided to use the recipe I posted since people were getting such good results. And while I was missing some of the tools, the recipe did not disappoint. I did splurge on some good butter (European organic) and I had to make my own fine sugar (ground some in the spice grinder). Overall, I love this recipe and the texture of cookie it produced. I would love to use it again and add some embellishments to the recipe, but this batch will remain plain, especially since it is almost gone!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rosemary-Citrus Scottish Shortbread

Posted by - elena gustavson

I love shortbread. Easy to make, buttery, fragrant and perfect with a hot cup of...something.

Apparently, it is customary to serve shortbread on the Winter Solstice (also called Imbolc) or on New Year's Eve. The round shape, marked with the tine of a fork around the edges, is meant to symbolize the sun for these dark of days of winter and the Scotts would carry them to neighbors and family in celebration.

Because i was making two batches, one plain and one with the herbs and citrus, I doubled a simple, plain Scottish Shortbread recipe I found in the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook and it worked beautifully to fold in the variations at the end. I chilled the doughs for 2 hours and pressed into pie tins, baking at 325F for about 20 minutes.

Not having any fresh oranges on hand for zest, I used orange oil and just a bit of lemon zest. The finished shortbread is crumbly, tender and very fragrant. I'll be putting wedges in gift boxes for friends and eating the rest with a cup of spicy chai tea this afternoon!

King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
p 343, Scottish Shortbread (with my variations)

1 cup (2 sticks) good quality, unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar (calls for confectioners, but I used evaporated cane)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups King Arthur All Purpose flour
 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp orange/lemon zest or 1 tsp orange oil

Pre-heat your oven to 325F

Cream butter with sugar, add salt and flour, then rosemary and zest/oil, working these ingredients into a soft dough by hand. Chill for a couple of hours or overnight.

Press dough into a round 9 inch pie plate and notch the edges. Score the dough by cutting halfway through it to divide the shortbread into 6 or 8 pie shaped pieces.

Bake until firm and barely golden. (The recipe says 1/2 to 1 hour, but mine was ready in 20 minutes.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gingered Shortbread

Posted by - Lena

This is my first attempt making a shortbread, i've not tasted a fresh baked ones before..the ones that i've tried are from the supermarket, scottish shortbreads. Though they are not really fresh from the oven, they taste good. But i dont always eat that..the price is a little bit dear to me about RM11 or slightly more that USD3 for one small packet. The reason why i made this is because i just joined in to this baking group, Have The Cake (HTC). Each month, someone will get a chance to suggest a theme and for this month, it's SHORTBREAD. So anyone who might be interested, just check on the link. I happened to know about this group when i read Zoe's post on her macadamia shortbread.

I do not have any recipes on shortbread offhand so i just checked from the internet and i finally decided to make a gingered shortbread. Tender..yeah so tender that i have to carefully transfer it for phototaking and gives a distinctive flavour due to the added ginger powder and the crystallized ginger. I hope i got the texture right, crumbly but tender and they do melt in your mouth!

Ingredients ( recipe from )
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white rice flour or cornstarch
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup ( 2 ounces) finely chopped crytallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 91/2 inch springform pan.
2.In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer at hogh speed , beat the butter until creamy for about 1 minute.
3.Add the sugar and continue beating until mixture is light in colour and texture , for about 2 mins.
4.Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour, rice flour and ground ginger to make into a soft dough. Stir in the crystallized ginger.
5.Press the dough evenly into the pan. Using the tines of the fork, press around the perimeter of the dough.
6.Prick the dough, reaching down to the bottom of the pan, into 12 wedges.
7. Bake until lightly browned, about 30minutes. Cool completely in pan. Remove the sides of the pan. Cut the shortbread into wedges, following the perforations of the dough.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Posted by -♥MIA♥
Im back after a very long time and sooo looking forward to catch up with Have the cake!!
Thank u Nancy ,for so fantastic a recipe!!

Since my post is very long , i will link back to my original post and put up a few pics here:-))


Buttery makes u happy...buttery makes u gay....and buttery brightens ur day!

Specially at Christmas time , buttery makes me smile.
So here we have buttery melt in ur mouth sables  ie french shortbread , many ways ,jus for u and me at Christmas time.
Do i really have ur attention now:-)
And we have the cutest little tarts in Christmas shapes , filled with caramel and chocolate and cookies galore.

Laurie chose Sables @ Baking with Dorie  ,this month , perfecto i thought, and so in time!

And then something else happenned , i checked in Have the Cake , a group i joined a bit ago , and there is shortbread happening there too , and i so wanted to catch up , and here are these buttery Sables.

Well , they add on to 2 of my baking groups , they are so good at Christmas time , with all these cookie cutters , and if that aint enough they are French and buttery.....
 And oh so soft and melty {melt in ur mouth}
They bake beautiful ,are tender and fill ur home with the frangrance of buttery goodness u will love.

They are good rite outa the oven {careful:hot}, and when cooled.

They need no frosting and stand beautifully on their own.

And there is sooo muc u can to t play around and make it ur own.
A winner every side, u will love these , i say.

This one was more like a star bar, like a layer of buttery shortbread {i know u must have noticed by now how muc i love the word buttery,and i used salted butter by the way}, a layer of caramel, and a layer of chocolate,u cant go wrong here!
Thannnk u Laurie!
Thannnk u Nancy!

And oh so good to play around, lemme begin sooonnn and show u all the fun i u can have some too.....
Oh ,im excited and so hope that u are too......
I dont have step step pics to the dough coz i brought it together at night and all our energy saver lites are warm daylite , = yellow ,so no nite pics:-)
Its one of the easiest doughs , a little soft to handle , but still fast and easy.
You begin by beating butter at room temp , oh so good i tell u, i mean butter ,sugar , flour , a bakers fav ,come together to create some deliciousness galore!
How good is that!!

One thing though , though halve the recipe , i did , and realized how little it would be to bring this all together and had to bring together a second batch immdtly!

After sitting and improving in the refrigeration over night ,i get working again.

For step by steps pics on the rolling and cutting u can hop here :-)

~~~Mia's Tips Picked from Dorie n reading around~~~

* cacao nibs would be oh so perfect too.
All of them , Sable tarts filled with Choco Caramel or the cookies , were simply fantastic...Sandy , a good sandy , tender and oh so melt in ur mouth!
Jus some buttery goodness , with ur Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee , i love....
 Or with warm apple cider...fantastic....
Butter , sugar ,flour with some egg , creates delicious moments again...
Christmas tree jus for u and me .....
Coming soonnn , Christmas time and how to make ur own Christmas Cake and peels too!
If u want to make ur own holiday gifts , there's still some time {by the way , my holiday spirit which is @365, extends to feb ,till love is in the air :-)))....also *365..., hop here to make some lightly spiced vanilla sugar and Vanilla colored sugars too...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Macadamia shortbread

I like shortbread as it is. Being plain and buttery is good enough to satisfy me. Here is a simple macadamia shortbread that I have made for the December shortbread challenge hosted by Have the Cake (HTC).

I thought that I could be creative in creating shortbread with variations but I still cannot convince myself to change the traditional shortbread to a fanciful one because the best shortbread to me is just a simple one.

I believe that a good shortbread has to be essentially made from a good quality butter. As for the macadamia, I've pre-roasted the nuts to minimize its raw taste in this pastry and the texture is fantastic. Lastly, I would think the most important of this shortbread recipe is my step 5 which is "Pop one bite size shortbread into your mouth, munch and enjoy its buttery taste"...LOL

Here is the recipe from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam and David McGuinness

175g unsalted butter

250g plain flour

60g rice flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

125g caster sugar

80g macadamia nuts, chopped (I roasted mine prior mixing)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 20 cm square x 4 cm deep slice tin.

2. Remove butter from the refrigerator 20 min before using. Sift plain flour, rice flour, baking powder and slat into a bowl. Add caster sugar and stir to combine.

3. Cut butter into cubes and use fingertips to rub butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add macadamias and continue rubbing together to combine and then knead to form a dough. Pat mixture into prepared tin and smooth the top using back of a spoon. Place in a refrigerator to rest for 20 min.

4. Bake for 30-40 min or until shortbread is light and golden colour and firm to touch. Allow it to cool in the tin before removal from tin. Cut the shortbread into fingers (I cut mine into cubes as bite sizes). Shortbread can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 days.

5. Pop one bite size shortbread into your mouth, munch and enjoy its buttery taste...

Happy Baking

Posted by - Zoe @ Bake for happy kids

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Shortbread

Posted by - Rena

YUM! Just to get that out of the way...

I have been putting this off for days because the cold weather makes me want to bake (and eat) all day, every day. I knew once I made shortbread, all bets would be off. I pictured myself eating them all in one sitting with a cup of coffee loaded with Marshmallow Mocha creamer.

I went to the store today and bought mini chocolate chips and walnuts just in case. I finally committed and made them. I thought I had regular flour but all I had was King Arthur white whole wheat flour. I used it and they turned out fine. You can't really tell it's whole wheat. The shortbread was crumbly and not too sweet.

I decided to get fancy and melt chocolate, pour it over the top and add on walnuts. That was the plan but something happened with the chocolate and it became more of a paste. I added in butter and nothing happened. My computer was upstairs and I didn't want to waste the chocolate so I devised a shmear and pat system. Shmear the chocolate and pat down the walnuts. Worked like a charm.

I used the recipe from Nancy's challenge post and added in mini chocolate chips. I didn't measure them out. They are delicious and my neighbors will get the majority. I've eaten too many pieces already.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lime and White Chocolate Shortbread

Posted by - Katie

In an ideal world, I would have time to bake 10 different kinds of Christmas cookies, and then come Christmas day lay out a beautiful plate of differently shaped and colored and flavored treats. (Yes, this is actually something I fantasize about. I also fantasize about normal things like inheriting a villa in Italy and spending all day in a king-sized hotel bed with 15 pillows, but occasionally I fantasize about having perfect displays of baked goods. C'est juste moi.) In the real world, I have time to bake exactly 0 kinds of Christmas cookies, meaning that I will probably end up making 2 to 3 different kinds at odd hours of the morning when I should be studying for my steel final or writing the research term paper that I've been procrastinating literally since September. Oops.

I can't decide how much of a problem my tendency to use baking as a form of procrastination is. I don't really think it's normal - most people are content with facebook and reruns of Modern Family - but at least it's semi productive. Or at least that is how I would like to justify it to myself. For example, the night before fall break while working on yet another impossible matrix structural analysis problem set (yeah, I'm trying to impress you with the names of my classes), I decided at midnight to make 2 different kinds of apple muffins to bring with me to Tim's house the next morning. A nice, really poorly timed idea. Then, the night before my steel midterm, which I began studying for at 9pm, I made an executive decision at 11pm that making banana bread would take approximately 5 minutes and be a great study break. If you are ever thinking of making the same executive decision here are a few notes. Note 1: making banana bread takes more than 5 minutes. Note 2: once you make the banana bread you might find that it's 11:45 and you feel kind of like taking a shower. Note 3: after your shower it will be 12:15 and you will need time to eat 4 slices of banana bread. Note 4: after eating too many slices of banana bread you will fall asleep, fat and happy and totally unprepared for your steel midterm. Note 5: you will now need to do exceptionally well on your steel final and abstain from absolutely all baking for the 24 hours beforehand. Period.

Occasionally, however, I behave like a responsible human being and set aside an hour or two of weekend time to bake. For example, this morning. When I made these shortbread cookies because shortbread is this month's challenge over at Have the Cake. I actually got really excited when I saw this challenge, especially since I haven't been able to participate for a few months and I knew something as simple but changeable as shortbread would get me in the kitchen stat. There were several shortbread recipes I wanted to try, and I might still try the savory parmesan-rosemary recipe I found, but in the end I decided to go with these lime and white chocolate shortbreads because they seemed festive enough to fit the bill of my first holiday cookie.

I think I would give these cookies a 3.5 out of 5 - there's room for improvement. I liked the flavors of the cookie and topping, but the texture of the lime zest in the cookie threw me off. It made the cookies a bit crunchier than I thought they should be. These cookies are also fairly crumbly, but since this is my first time making shortbread, I'm not sure how much of that is because of my technique and how much because of the recipe. I would like to try these again omitting the lime zest from the cookie and using concentrated lime oil or lime extract instead of the almond extract, as I think that would give the cookies more flavor and a better texture. I would keep the topping the same, as it was quite yummy and went well with the buttery cookie.

Lime Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate and Almonds

Adapted from Bon Appetit. Makes 24 cookies.

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks chilled, unsalted butter
  • 3 TBS lime zest, divided
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 4 oz. white chocolate
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/3 c. sliced, blanched almonds, toasted until golden then chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 13x9 metal baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix in 2 TBS of lime zest and almond extract. Cut cold butter into flour in small pieces, then use pastry cutter or hands to blend until even and can be pressed together into a loose ball.
  3. Press dough evenly into prepared pan. Use a fork to poke holes all over dough. With a sharp knife, cut evenly sized triangles into dough, cutting all the way through dough. Bake cookies for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and firm. Upon removal from the oven, immediately use knife to recut through earlier markings. Let cookies cool in pan on rack. When cool, carefully remove from pan.
  4. Bring a medium pot of water to a gentle simmer. In a smaller pot, place white chocolate, remaining 1 TBS of lime zest, and lime juice. Melt chocolate over simmering water, stirring all the while. When thin enough, use a fork to drizzle lime-chocolate mixture over cookies, then top cookies with toasted almonds.