Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Buttery goodness

From Kee Kee:

Queen La La, may we also ask you cooking questions on this blog? One of the new recipes I tried last week was Barefoot Contessa's Jam Thumbprint cookies. Essentially they are shortbread cookies, have you made shortbread before? The recipe I used did not call for eggs and was literally butter (lots) and sugar and the batter never really came together at all and crumbled all around me as a I tried to work with it.. they look they would be yummy cookies, so if you have made any kind of shortbread cookies before could you let a gal in on some tips????

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Ask a question and I'll try to help with what learning I've done from my own mistakes. Shortbread, however, like pie crust, is my nemesis. It almost always disappoints when I have a crack at it.

This being said, however, I can recommend several things. One, check on the Food Network site for reviews of the recipe to see if people have had the same problem. I've learned over the years that some recipes in some books just suck and don't come together. Second, maybe decreasing the flour a bit might help or adding a little bit of milk to the finished batter would ease some of the dryness. Lastly, and I do know this is important, the dough should be cold before forming it into cookies. Take from the fridge only what you can roll quickly. I have a bad habit of not letting things chill thoroughly (I'm extremely impatient when I bake) and wind up with a mess of wasted ingredients. Remember, the thicker the dough disk, the longer it takes to chill so leave it in there for enough time.

I've had luck with shortbread but I do the Scottish method of just patting in a pan, scoring it, and breaking along the lines later. If you are having a problem with the dough, maybe that would work? Pat it into a cake pan, score it evenly into pie shapes, make a thumbprint at the wide end of each, blob in the jam, and bake. Untraditional, but I bet they'd look really cool.

Let me know how the cookies and your coq au vin turn out. I'm hoping for cottage pie tonight as the weather is just right for it.

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