Saturday, July 7, 2012

Buttery Citrus Shortbread Squares

After eating countless versions of our longtime favorite Cruising Cookies (link and link), we were ready for a change, something totally different. The Capt requested his favorite Spritz cookies, but they sounded like too much bother without my stand mixer at hand to cream the butter and mix up a stiff batter. I know, don’t say it, “How lazy can I get?” Well, this time laziness paid off with an almost effortless cookielike recipe found in Melanie Barnard’s cookbook, Short and Sweet.

Not exactly a cookie, these fruit-filled, citrusy shortbread squares were a major hit and practically flew off the plate when I shared the first batch at the dock. Luckily they are a snap to make, calling for just a few ingredients and requiring almost no work at all. Really, I’ve made these in the morning when half asleep, popping a pan in the oven while waiting for the coffee to brew. You just...
·      Melt the butter.
·      Stir in some citrus zest, dried fruit and powdered sugar.
·      Mix in the flour.
·      Press into a square pan and bake for 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees F. until golden and firm.
·      Cut, cool and enjoy.

That’s it, the entire process, and how easy is that?! It takes under an hour and the hardest part is deciding which fruits to use. So far Costco’s cranberries paired with orange zest remain the preferred flavor combination, but dried blueberries and pine nuts with lemon zest run a close second, especially when topped with a thin slather of lemon curd. 

Hmmm, dried apricots with lavender and grapefruit zest might flavor the next batch, or perhaps mint and…

Can you double the recipe for a big batch? I’ve not tried but it sounds reasonable. Just store the extras, tightly covered, for several days if you don’t eat them immediately. The recipe stated they could be frozen for up to 1 month – and that makes me wonder what happens on days 31, 32 and later.

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Squares

Recipe from Short & Sweet by Melanie Barnard

Makes 16 cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup AP flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, or use a glass 8-cup measuring cup and melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange peel, cranberries and powdered sugar. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated. The dough will be stiff.
  4. Use a spatula to spread the dough into an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan; pat it down firmly.
  5. Bake on a middle shelf 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and lightly browned and firm at the edges. Resist the temptation to overbake.
  6. Cool the pan on a baking rack for several minutes and then use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 16 equal-sized squares.
  7. Don’t remove the squares yet, they will crumble and fall apart. Let them cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then use a narrow spatula to remove them carefully.
  8. Store, tightly covered, for several days. Freeze for up to 1 month.

1 comment:

  1. These look delicious, and so simple! Can't wait to try them - and all the different flavor combos! Thanks for the recipe.


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