Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whether it's called Shortbread or Shortin' Bread, everyone loves it, but then why not....butter, flour, salt and sugar! That's it, 4 ingredients, and you have one of the best cookies in the world!

This recipe is made with dark brown sugar, making it a cookie with a rich caramel flavor. Most shortbread cookies do not have an icing or glaze, but I put a light glaze on mine so I can sprinkle them with Sicilian Sea Salt. Hope you enjoy them!

Sicilian Salted Shortbread
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 pound butter

Adjust the oven rack 1/3 of the way down from the top of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place flour, salt and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Turn out onto a board or smooth surface. Briefly squeeze the mixture between your hands and then knead slightly only until the dough holds together smoothly. Do not handle more than necessary. The heat of your hands will melt the butter too much and you will need to chill the dough before you proceed.

On a lightly floured cloth with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/2" thickness. Cut with a floured 2" cookie cutter. Reroll and cut scraps. Place cookies 1" apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Pierce each cookie three times with a fork, going all the way through to the cookie sheet. If cookies appear to be sticky and soft, pop baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer briefly.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, reversing baking sheet's position during baking, until cookies are lightly colored. Do not overbake.
Remove with wide metal spatula to a rack to cool.
Now, these cookies are delicious at this point, but....mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of warm water. Stir well until no lumps are evident. Drizzle this glaze over the cookies and immediately lightly sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of coarse sea salt. Absolutely delicious!
I also make a chocolate shortbread witht the same glaze and sea salt....wonderful!

Sea salt and Caramel are two amazing flavors, but you combine them and you have a powerful combination. The 2 flavors are popular in homemade caramels; sweet, salty and chewy. If you are in the mood to make candy, try this recipe. The combination of smooth, sweet caramel, crunchy salt crystals, and bittersweet chocolate may sound unusual, but it makes these candies impossible to put down.
Sea salt has become a fashionable ingredient, and should not be hard to find in a well-stocked grocery store. If you like, you can substitute kosher salt for the sea salt. Table salt is not recommended, but if you must use it, use less than the recommended quantity. Do not use rock salt.

Sea Salt Caramels from about.com
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp sea salt, such as fleur de sel
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. Prepare an 8-inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the cream in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup and honey and stir until it begins to boil. Periodically wipe down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
3. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 257 degrees on a candy thermometer.
4. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the butter, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of salt.
5. Pour into prepared pan and let set at room temperature until firm enough to cut.
6. Cut the caramel into small squares or strips with a chef’s knife.
Temper the chocolate and dip the caramels in the chocolate one at a time. Place them on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper or foil to set. While chocolate is still wet, sprinkle on the remaining salt and allow to set completely.

to temper chocolate go to

Day One Still Life Project!

It was a blast! Not too successful for me, but fun! Vicki Johnston, Winnie Davis, and Joanne Carlton joined me for a great day of painting! Day 2 tomorrow!
Thanks to Becky Pashia and all the wonderful people at ARTichokes for giving us this opportunity.

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