Monday, January 6, 2014

National Shortbread Day - January 6th

Shortbread day is January 6th, and it's one of the very simplest cookies you could ever make. Scottish in origin, it's often made for celebrations. Traditionally, it's baked in a large circle that's been pre-cut into wedges (like really narrow pizza slices). Food historians think this is from old Pagan traditions, and evolved from sun cakes.

My personal favorite way to make shortbread still includes some of the sunny symbolism.

Jam-Filled Shortbread

2/3 C. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. flour
apricot jam or preserves

Directions: Preheat oven to 300ºF. Cream together the sugar, butter and salt. Sift flour over this mixture and lightly knead until well blended and smooth. (Don't overwork the flour or the cookies will be tough.) If too crumbly, add a few drops of water. Firmly press dough, about a walnut-sized ball) into the bottoms of a mini muffin tin, and make a shallow indent in the middle. Spoon about a tsp. of jam into the depression, and bake as usual: 45-50 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to cool to just warm before removing from pan.
Variation: Other jams can be used, raspberry and orange marmalade are both delicious.
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