Have you had your share of treats? Sorry. I just got my kitchen in (rough) working order and it's the last week to go big. I generally am one for an underdone oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Maybe a brownie type cookie if it tastes like real chocolate and not just cocoa powder. I also love these Peanut Butter Cookies from Heidi that my sister in law used to make all the time. But a pal who knows her way around baking recipes sent me these delicious goat butter shortbread cookies months ago when Curran was a wee thing and it felt like a dream to get homemade cookies in the mail. Until then, I didn't realize that I really liked shortbread. It always seemed like such a plain choice amongst cookies. Sure, butter makes things tastes good, but I don't need a butter cookie. Give me your chocolate. I ate the whole package of those buttery little coins when I thought it'd be a cookie easy to refuse. Which brings me to this recipe that caught my eye when browsing for holiday cookies in The New Sugar and Spice cookbook. It is a shortbread recipe spiced with coffee grounds and cardamom and while I'm sure you could roll it out and use cookie cutters, Samantha suggests baking it in a fluted tart pan or springform pan so you can pop the disk out and cut it into wedges or geo shards as we did here. These are not as dry and snappy as a traditional shortbread. I replaced a mere 1/4 cup of the flour with nut meal because I love the warmth it gives to baked goods and I'm sure that contributed to the change but for shortbread, they are pretty tender. Not a bad thing, just not necessarily par for the shortbread course. They taste of butter, of course, but the heavy hand of spices and vanilla make them so much more of a cookie. It stands out on a platter for sure and there is still time to leave some for your neighbor, mailman or the UPS guy that is still delivering packages at 8pm. Perhaps you're sick of baked goods but the way I see it, we have another week before all the cleansing and salads so what's one more?
A very warm and bright holiday to each of you. You make our year that much richer, thank you for reading along.
COFFEE + CARDAMOM SHORTBREAD // Makes 12ish large triangles
Recipe adapted from The New Sugar and Spice Cookbook by Samantha Seneviratne
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, nearly room temp
2 teaspoons ground coffee (a light or medium roast)
1 tsp. cardamom seeds (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. almond or hazelnut meal
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup packed muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325'. Butter 9" fluted tart pan or spring form pan.
Grind your spices until very finely ground. In a large bowl, whisk together the spice mixture, flour, nut meal, powdered sugar, muscavado or brown sugar and salt to mix. Into a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat in the butter and vanilla to combine.
TIp the dough into the prepared pan using wet fingers. Press it into an even layer on the bottom, all the way to the edges. Freeze it until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake the shortbread on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any leaking butter. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Immediately, and while the dough is still warm, use a sharp paring knife to score the shortbread into wedges or slices as you wish. Set on a rack to cool completely. When it's cool, remove the cookie and gently break it apart along it's edges.
Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for a month.