Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kitchen rescue and lavender shortbread

Ever since my visit to Salt Lake's Les Madeleines I've been craving lavender shortbread. After poking around in my cookbooks I found a recipe by the reliable Laurie Colwin and gathered my ingredients. But I was out of powdered sugar. Blast! I actually said that, blast. This is what happens after four years of trying not to swear around my son.

Anyway, with such a short list of ingredients I figured it was pretty important to use powdered sugar, not ordinary granulated sugar. There wasn't time to go back to the store. Then it hit me -- the coffee grinder. Could I make my own powdered sugar?

Since we actually use the coffee grinder to grind coffee, I dusted it out well first. Then I poured in a handful of rice and ground that up to thoroughly clean the grinder. Since I didn't want whole lavender blossoms in my shortcake I ground it together with the sugar (at about 2 tablespoons lavender to 1 cup sugar) -- and it worked! My own powdered sugar.

My plan was to make a few shortcakes and package them in pretty tins for my family; next time I'll buy the tins first and then shape the shortcakes to fit. Sigh. Eight-inch tins were nowhere to be found in the neighborhood. I can make my own powdered sugar but I can't smelt my own custom-shaped tins. Great recipe, though.

Laurie Colwin's Classic Shortbread

1. Cream 1 stick of butter with 1/4 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

2. Work in 3/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 1/4 cup rice flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. (Use 1 cup flour if you cannot find rice flour.)

3. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle on an ungreased cookie sheet. This recipe gives you a very soft, delicate dough, so be patient with it. Before baking, score the dough, making 6 wedges, and mark the edge with the tines of a fork.

4. Bake the shortbread in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edge is golden brown.

5. While the shortbread is still warm, cut it into the wedges with a sharp knife.

I found that when the butter was slightly melted (from being placed in a bowl that was hot from the dishwasher) the shortbread's surface came out a bit smoother without seeming to affect the quality of the texture... so make of that what you will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay, yummy!

Next year, you want me to save you some lavender flowers and mail them? They're so light it'd probably only take one first-class stamp.