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!


lena said...

cranberry and orange sounds good combination to me!

pfeffernc said...

Yum! Your cranberry orange ones look delicious.
I had to laugh when I saw your photos. I knew that bottle of honey looked familiar. I miss Colorado!

Rena said...

OOH, the honey nut shortbread sounds yummy!