Monday, November 28, 2011

Butterscotch Shortbread - this year's "I don't have any more time to bake for the holidays" recipe

As I write this, it’s less than a month away until Christmas. You may have holiday baking on your mind.
   You’d like to make some homemade holiday treats for your friends and family.
   But time flies, and all of a sudden it’s mere hours before the gang will show up on your doorstep.
   What to do?
   Don’t fret. Make Butterscotch Shortbread (click for the recipe) from Company’s Coming.
   Butterscotch Shortbread is my recommendation this year for an amazingly quick-to-make baked treat that tastes like you spent much more time and energy on it than you really did. (Last year’s was 15-Minute Chocolate Walnut Fudge - make both and people will think you're a genius.)
   This shortbread is perfect to set out after supper or for a snack, and it will please adults and children alike.
   The secret ingredient is graham cracker crumbs, which extends and deepens the flavor created by brown sugar.
   But don’t buy ready-ground graham cracker crumbs. It makes for much tastier shortbread if you grind your own from whole crackers in a food processor or mini-chopper.
   Butter (I used unsalted) and brown sugar are creamed (beaten) together in a medium bowl with a stand-up or hand-held mixer.
   Flour and graham cracker crumbs are combined and added to the butter mixture. Continue to mix until a soft, slightly crumbly dough forms (it won’t be in a ball).
   The recipe says to turn out the dough on to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about two minutes.
   However, I see absolutely no need to knead – it seems like a redundant step that isn’t included in other shortbread recipes I’ve made.
   Simple press the dough into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch baking pan, prick the top of it in several places with a fork, then score it into triangles with a knife (scoring means to draw the lines in the dough with a knife.)
   The shortbread is baked for about 30 minutes until edges are golden, then is cooled completely. It’s cut along the scoring into triangles.

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