cardamom shortbread

There are moments when we’re covered head to toe in yogurt or bees or something, and we’re thinking “well…shit.” Everyone has those moments. The difference between a klutz and a normal person, though, is that those moments happen regularly for a klutz. maybe three times a week, at least, on average.

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For example, the time I read an issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, and after I found an article on homemade facemasks with oatmeal, I decided to test it out. I had all the wrong ingredients, and I ended up with sour cream all over my face. As I stood over my parents’ kitchen sink contemplating how to get the cream off my face, I started laughing at myself, as one does when they realize they have just smeared sour cream all over their face.

For another example, the time last week I tried warming up a block of butter in my uninsulated apartment by putting it on top of my toaster oven, while I toasted bacon. I didn’t think the oven would get so hot. I should have known better, though, as I usually keep all my baking pans on top of the oven and whenever I try to move them, I burn myself. As you can expect, the butter melted all over the top of the oven. Cut to me thinking, 6 years after I started baking, that I could move the butter to a cooler place and it would resolidify, good as new.

False.

Don’t try to use melted and re-solidified butter when you actually want softened butter. I put it on top of the microwave, and promised I wouldn’t use the ¬†microwave for at least week…and yet the microwave still ended up covered in butter. Nearly a week later and I’m still trying to figure out how to clean off the toaster oven, and it smells like butter and bacon whenever I try to bake something.

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After I cleaned off the microwave, I considered using the butter, because I had planned on making shortbread that night with it. I couldn’t even open the box. It was, for my intents and purposes, ruined. So into the trash it went, 200 grams of unsalted butter, worth $4 total.

As I surveyed my now oily apartment, and considered the money I had just dropped into the trash can, I had to laugh.

Because if I laugh at myself first, then Life can’t laugh at me at all.

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And you, too, can laugh with me when you make cardamom shortbread. It is just so good that you have to chuckle a little. Shortbread is one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever found: it’s just butter, flour, sugar, beaten together and baked. Consider playing with the amount of flour to see how it affects the final product, and see what spices suit you best!

 

cardamom spiced shortbread

based on a recipe by Annie’s Eats

makes 16 cookies

 

90 g unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature

45 g (1/4 c) granulated sugar, plus extra for topping

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 g kosher salt

150 g all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

 

1. Beat the butter until pale and fluffy, about a minute. Beat in the sugar gradually and continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Finally, beat in vanilla and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, and cardamom.

3. Slowly add dry mixture to butter and beat. When the flour is almost fully combined, use your hands to knead the dough together until there are no crumbs.

4. Dump the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Don’t knead too much or too hard, just make sure the dough stays together. Form a block about 10 cm wide by 10 cm long (or 5 inches by 5 inches.)

5. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for at least an hour, until it firms up.

6. Preheat the oven, if using a conventional oven, to 325 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use the parchment paper you shaped the dough on.

7. Using a rolling pin, press on the square of dough to flatten it and make it wider, about 9-10 inches on each side (~20 cm), and 1 cm thick. If it starts getting warm and soft, chill it again.

8. Cut the square into smaller squares, 4 by 4, and arrange on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with granulated sugar. They puff up a little in the oven.

9. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until they just start turning brown. If using a toaster oven, toast at 740 W for the same amount of time.

10. Let cool in the oven for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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