While getting ready for this post, I glanced at the calendar... and was kind of thrown off a little bit when I realized it was already the end of February. It's going to be March tomorrow! And the first day of Spring is in only 3 weeks!
This is a big deal for me. I mean, yes I'm from the Great White North and all, and have been subjected to many many cold , snowy, crazy winters... but (*ashamed face*) I'm really not a winter gal. I try my best to embrace the cold and do the whole skating, sliding, ice-fishing thing... but I just really don't like being cold. And by this time of year, I'm usually going pretty stir-crazy... from hiding inside from the icy temperatures, yet dyyyying to get outside and get some fresh air.
So to realize that, hey, winter's pretty much done, and I haven't even had the chance to feel resentful towards it yet, is a strange feeling. I know I'm pushing my luck, and that just because I said this, we'll get a huuuuge dump of snow tomorrow.
But really, Spring's only 3 weeks away now. So Winter, do your worst!! Or not. Preferably, stay nice :)
This shortbread is prepared slightly different than traditional recipes. After mixing your shortbread dough, it's frozen, and then grated, with a layer of rich raspberry sandwiched inside.
Grating the dough creates sweet little layers of air and butter, making the shortbread nice and light, unlike how dense lots of traditional shortbreads can be. The raspberry adds a beautiful balance of tang and sweet to the rich, buttery cookie.
I (slightly) adapted this recipe from here.
1/2 lb butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup good-quality raspberry jam
1/8 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
Cream your butter in a medium sized mixing bowl, until very soft. Mix in your sugar about 1/4 cup at at time, until fully incorporated and very light and fluffy. Add your egg yolks and vanilla and mix in well.
Sift together your flour, salt, and baking powder, and slowly add to your butter mixture. Stir until your flour mixture is just mixed in (don't over mix). Turn your dough out onto counter and separate into two balls. Shape each ball into a little log, wrap in plastic wrap, and put into the freezer for a minimum of two hours. Or overnight, or for a week, or a month.
When you're ready to assemble, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 8x8" pan by lining it with foil, and very lightly spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
Grate half of your dough into your baking pan. It'll look like a big pan of shredded cheese. DON'T PRESS IT DOWN! I know it will be tempting, but don't do it - all that air in between your pieces will help create that nice soft texture. If you need to spread it out lightly with your fingers to even it out, go ahead... just don't press too hard.
Next, you want to put your layer of raspberry jam on top. You won't be able to spread it because those little grated pieces are just going to stick to the jam and make a big mess. Here's what I did:
Take a small ziplock baggie, put your jam inside, and seal it up. Place it in a bowl of hot water for about 5-10 minutes to soften it and thin it out. Snip a corner of your baggie off, and pipe it out onto your shortbread.
I didn't pipe mine right to the edge - I figured it would ooze a little bit and fill the space while it was cooking, and I didn't want it to burn on the sides and be a pain to get off of the foil. It turned out perfectly that way.
Grate the other half of your shortbread on top of your filling. It will fill the rest of your pan, right to the top... but it will shrink down somewhat as it cooks. Again, don't press it down!
Pop that baby into your preheated oven, and let bake about 35 - 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it feels slightly firm to the touch when you press the center.
As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle the top with your confectioner's sugar.
Let cool. This will be MUCH easier to cut nicely if you pop it into the refrigerator for about an hour, or until it feels cool when you touch the center. Otherwise, if you cut it while it's still warm, it will be quite sticky and crumbly.
To remove, lift the edges of the foil from the pan, and pull the whole thing out onto a chopping board. Cut it into equal size pieces.
The recipe I used for this, was written for a 9x13" pan. While I knew that if I made that much,
Simple to make, simple ingredients, and rich and delectable. A great dessert to bring along to a dinner party or potluck.
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