Tuesday, March 25, 2008

TWD: Redux

Seriously, I think I joined just in time. I'm going to get to pick a recipe within the next month instead of the next two years, and I got to see us go from around 15 when I joined to over 100! Tuesdays with Dorie – who would have thought we'd grow so quickly? Not only that, in getting into it as quickly as I did, I've only missed a couple recipes that I wanted to make. Hopefully I'll get around to making them sometime (you know, in all that free time – HA!).

What's spurring this is two-fold. One is less than celebratory, one is uber celebratory. Starting with the bad, ending with the good is my view on this sort of situation, so on to the bad. This week's selection from Steph at A Whisk and a Spoon was Caramel-Topped Flan. I'm glad that she decided to dip into the spoon desserts portion of this cookbook, but (and here's the big but) I don't like flan. Like, it was the one bit of Spanish food that I hated when I visited Spain. No way am I going to ruin my love for this cookbook by clouding it with my opinion of the dreaded flan. As a result, I didn't make anything for TWD this week. Sorry guys!

But on to the good, because really, the glass is always at least half-full. Sometimes it's three-quarters, and man is that awesome! I was browsing through my Google Reader (all 100+ subscriptions…) and came across this. The more I see press for this wonderful event, the happier I am that I took the plunge and joined the food blogging world. I mean, how else could I have tapped into the genius that is this community? How else could I get emails from Helene on how to perfect the macaron? And more importantly, how else could I have gotten so much support for my rather obsessive baking habit? 100% awesome, and therefore probably closer to glass totally full than even glass three-quarters full.

In honor of this, the overflowing of emotion on my part, I give you – the recipe that started it all. Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread, nicely crumbly, tender, nutty, and delicious. I raise my shortbread, my glass of tea, and my cookbook to all of you who read this – Thank you!

Last Week: Brioche Raisin Snails
Next Week: Gooey Chocolate Cakes

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup finely ground pecans
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and cloves.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and give the mixer a couple of turns, just to get the nuts into the dough.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9×10-1/2-inch rectangle that’s 1/4-inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets wiht parchment or silicone mats.

Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-1/2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale - they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.

If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

Yield: 32 cookies


Gretchen Noelle said...

I understand your dislike for flan! These shortbread cookies look wonderful, definitely worth a try! Hope you enjoy the chocolate for next week!

April said...

I missed out on this recipe too, maybe I will have to give them a try!

Marie said...

I don't think flan has ended up being my favourite dessert either and I probably will never make it again but I did get to conquer my fear of caramel and finally made some without burning it, so that's good. My husband really enjoyed it however,but then he loves custard. Your shortbreads look delish!

Annemarie said...

I'm with you on the flan...thanks for sharing this recipe, I can't wait to try it!

Erin said...

These look great! I went back and made them too. I think this is much better than flan- I didn't care for it either!

strawberriesinparis said...

they look like legos! It bet they taste delicious!

Natalie said...

Those look so nummy!