Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lemon shortbread

I have been working with a recipe over the past weeks for the new book I'm writing. While its origin is Mexican, the biscuit it produces is so familiar to so many people from other cultures, I feel like I've stumbled on a universal biscuit base that could be converted to suit many purposes. Flush with a full stock of lemons, thanks to Janet at work, today I thought I would turn my recipe into Lemon Shortbread - a very easy variation on the original recipe and certainly, a very delicious one. I hope you agree!


Ingredients
250g salt reduced butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water
1 tblsp lemon zest
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cups plain flour

1. Combine the butter, sugar, lemon juice, water and lemon zest in the bowl of your Kitchenaid (I'm not going to pretend anybody owns any other mixer, okay?). Beat on sixth gear until the butter is pale and creamy.
2. Add the almonds and plain and mix on first gear until the ingredients are just combined.
3. Gather the dough together with your hands and knead it just a little to ensure all the dry ingredients are combined.
4. Place it on a pastry mat or a piece of baking paper and gently roll the entire amount of dough into a log. Keep rolling until the log is about 30cm long and about 6cm in diameter. Wrap it tightly in cling film and roll just a little more to refine the shape of your log. Tap each end on the bench to flatten it so you have a perfect cylindar. Store the shortbread log in the fridge for an hour.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
6. Take the shortbread log out of the fridge and remove the plastic. Using a very sharp knife, cut 1cm thick slices from the log. You are aiming to get at least 24 slices from the log, so be careful how thick you cut each slice.
7. Arrange the shortbread rounds on the baking trays - you should get 12 per tray but make sure you get them enough space in between because they do spread a little. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the shortbread is golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. You can dust these shortbreads with icing sugar if you like. I think they are nice plain. They will keep for at least four days, if you don't eat them all first!

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