Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shortbread Cookies - fruit & nut/salty

Dear foodies,

I hope all of you who had a long weekend last week, had a blast. I surely did :) We had a mini roommate reunion in California. I met up with two of my first and longest roomies from grad school, in California! The three of us lived together for close to three years and there is a nice comfort zone that we've fallen into. I've also shared an apt with two other gorgeous gals during grad school, and one of them is getting engaged next week! Hugs to all of them, love you :) We don't have to be in constant touch (though we do) and don't have to explain our words or actions or anything about us at all. We just know each other, plain and simple. We let our guards down and no topic is off bounds. I am known to lose my temper a bit (yeah, a bit. and I'm going to stick to that), but these gals know how to handle me, really well! I would never be able to do that, and thank God for them :D Its a blessing to have such wonderful girl friends. So when I knew the three of us were going to meet, I wanted to take a gift along. Ofcourse I had to make it myself right ? so I made these yummy shortbread cookies, in three different flavors ;-)

My entry to Click - Cookies/May 2009 hosted by the Jugalbandits, thank you :)
These are on the same lines as the fruitcake cookies I made earlier but a lot more simpler this time. The original recipe by itself is fairly easy to do, but I watched a recipe online for a citrusy and nut filled cookie and wanted to try that this time. I like this recipe cos it does not have any of the egg-substitution craziness and it turns out great every time. I made 3 different batches, one with walnuts and a hint of orange, dried cherries and walnuts in another and the third one was a savory & salty version. All of them turned out great and if I really had to to choose one, I would go back to the fruit n nut combo, though the salty one came really close to the top.

Shortbread Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of butter (unsalted) - at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup - All purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp - milk
Fruit & nut
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp - light Brown sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp - Vanilla essence
  • 1 Tbsp - Orange zest
  • 1/2 cup - Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped or combination of nuts and dry fruits
  • 1/4 tsp - Kosher salt
salty-savory version:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp - light brown sugar, packed
  • 11/4 tsp - Kosher salt (adjust to taste)
  • 11/2 tsp - Cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • 2 tsp - fresh Thyme leaves, finely chopped (optional, use 1Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp - finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Method:
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. I used a hand blender for 3-4 mins on low speed. Add the vanilla essence, orange zest and salt and blend for another minute until the butter is fluffy and the sugar is well combined. (for the savory version, add all the ingredients, but for the parm cheese now)
  2. Next add the flour in 1/3rd cup portions and blend lightly. Be careful not to overmix the dough, it'll lead to tough cookies. Blend just until the flour gets combined with the butter. Once all the flour is incorporated the dough will resemble crumbs, the size of peas. You should be able to form a ball with it when pressed together lightly.
  3. Add the chopped fruit, nuts, milk and combine together. (Fold in the parm cheese at this point for the savory version.) Tip the dough onto a flat surface and knead lightly to form a round ball. Take some plastic wrap, place the dough on it and shape as a log using the wrap for help. The cross-section of the log will give you the final shape/size of your cookie since the cookies don't spread while cooking.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for atleast 30 mins-1hr before baking. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350deg. With a sharp knife cut the log into 1/2 inch rounds. (If they fall apart you can easily force them together.) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the cookies 1/2 inch apart.
  5. Bake for 15-20mins, checking on them every minute after the 15 minute point. When the edges start to turn a light golden take them out. They will continue to cook for a few more minutes outside the oven. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack so that the residual heat in the pan does not burn them.
These are one of the easiest and quickest cookies you will make. They aren't any complicated steps and the logs freeze really well. I have half a log of each still sitting in my freezer, waiting to get eaten by friends visiting next week. I intended to dip the cookies in chocolate and melted some callebaut bittersweet chocolate and flavored it with some caramel flavored Kahlua. But I was a little impatient I guess and ended up heating it more than I should have. I was using very little chocolate and was microwaving it for 15sec intervals. It looked perfect when it came out from the microwave 30secs later, but the residual heat in the glass bowl made the chocolate seize up on me. I couldn't let such gorgeous chocolate go unused and so I quickly rolled them out and nibbled on them, topped the cookies with them :-P

All the three flavors turned out fabulous. I was initially worried about the sugar I added in the salty version. The butter tasted a lil salty-sweet and I wasn't sure I had made the right decision by adding it. But along with the flour it turned out really good. You could hardly taste the sugar in the final cookies but it enhanced the overall flavor. The Parmesan cheese speckled the cookies in gold when baked in the oven :) The thyme though, did not stand out in the cookies, you might have to use a lot more for its flavor to shine through. The cumin seeds gave the cookies a very nice warmth and taste, very similar to the Indian nankatai.

The sweet versions were great as expected, not overly sweet and crumbly, melt-in-your mouth style. My roomies enjoyed the fruit n nut one with the tartness of the cherries cutting through the richness of the cookies. We snacked on them during our drive to Lake Tahoe and SFO over the weekend. It was a picture perfect weekend, and here are a few of the photographs :D

.a slice of paradise.

The solutions to the foodie crossword are up, well N posted them more than a week back, it was me who hadn't updated this space. Solutions! I hope you enjoyed it.

These cookies are being packed up for Mansi of Fun & Food blog, for her Sugar High Friday June edition, Fruit & Nut.

33 thoughts:

Nags said...

i love the bokeh :)

Pavani said...

yum.. yum.. yum.. is all I can say looking at those delicious cookies. Nice clicks as usual. I never got around to make ur original fruit cake cookies, have all the ingredients on hand except for time to make them. Will let you know how they turned out. Have a fun sunday Priya..

Nithya said...

cute dish... and very very cute photography.. :)

Soma said...

Priya These cookies are divine. The fruit & nut ones just the way I like them.. & i cannot say more than what I have already said about your pictures:-) So pretty. i have bookmarked your precious cookies & these ones are on the list too.

I made cranberry & almond scones today;-)

I did the fresh spring rolls yesterday, but they got eaten while I was making them;-) have to make them again to post. Thanks for introducing those.

bugs said...

OMG!what a coincidence!I had made double chocolate shortbread cookies when I visited Sang in Boston!!...I will try these different flavors now..:)

Sharmilee! :) said...

Lovely pics...the cookies are soo cute!

Sonu said...

You come with a bang.:) Cookies are so cute and lovely. kash mein ek-do kha sakti;)I loved the last pic of cookies. And Priya...what a gorgeous and divine place you had visited. simply beautiful place!
Thanks for sharing.

Parita said...

Oh my lovely cookies..i love the savoury version..very cute and adorable clicks :)

Hari said...

Hi.. I am a new blogger..
very yummy dish.. inviting clicks.. good job!!
Thanks for the recipe..

Cheers,
Hari Chandana.

Chitra said...

lovely cookies..nice clickZ!!

Bhavs said...

awwwwww...u made me nostalgic P! but...im upset...!ur dear '4th' roomie did not get to taste it! :( i missed the trip n the cookies...huh huh! nobody loves me anymore!

Divya Vikram said...

Cookies look too good! Am sure going to make them

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Beautiful picture, looks so yumm.

Nirmala said...

Thats a lovely shot. I shall give a try to these cookies. Love the bokeh effect in the first pic. The savory version looks the most inviting :)

Suparna said...

hey priya,
Wow girlie :) tha's nice of u to make sweet n savory version of cookies for u friends. Thanks for the recipe. The cookie clicks are really adorable. The flickr ones are too awesome!!!!! I personally liked the sunglasses one :p
Enjoy sweety!
TC

jayasree said...

Though I haven't got around making ur fruit and nut cookies posted earlier, I will be making the savory ones shortly for my mom, who is diabetic. Thanks for sharing.

Jaya said...

Looks totally yummy... On a photographic note thougb, I think the colorful paper beneath takes a bit away from the cookies... Hehehe.. But that's just me.. you're the expert! :D

Priya said...

Nags, me too :-D

Pavani, ohh, you have to make them soon. Its takes just 30 mins to get them together. You need to remember to get the butter to room temp though. I always forget to do that.

Nithya, hehe, thank you :)

Soma, thank you :) Can I have some scones please?
make these soon, and you will not stop after that Soma :) You can add any combo of fruits and nuts and the savory ones open up many more batches of experimentation.
Glad that you made those rolls.Its the same with me, by the time I'm done making the rolls, dinner is done too :D What fillings did you use ?

Bugs, ooooh, double chocolate!! that sounds sooo decadent. So when I come by I know what to ask you for :D

Sharmilee, thank you :)

Priya said...

Sonu, Lake Tahoe was gorgeous, I want to go back there again! I like the last pic pf the stacked cookies too, may be for this months Click edition ;-)

Parita thank you :) I liked the savory ones too...cumin in cookies is really good.

Hari, Welcome! :) thank you for dropping by.

Chitra, thank you so much :)

Priya said...

Bhavs, see ? we told you u had to come :-P But don't you worry, we'll plan another one really soon. another bridal shower is due soon :)

Divya, yes yes, you have to make them :)

A2Z, thank you :)

Nirmala, I love these cookies cos they taste very similar to the ones we get in the Mithai bandars in Hyderabad.

Priya said...

Suparna, you could say I was looking for excuses to make cookies :D I like the pic of the sunglasses too, it come out really well. Need to buy another one soon.

Jayashree, my frnds' current roomie also was happy to see the savory ones cos she was watching her sugar levels too. do let me know when you try them.

Jaya, you could be right. I liked how it made the photos look colorful with a summery, picnic feel. I usually don't use too many bright colors, and so had to try it out :)

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Wow the shortbread cookies look so cute and yum yum this is my grandpa fav!!! Love them...

Anitha said...

Hey Priya,
Excellent photography, Nice presentation, beautiful colors...yummy recipe...

Anitha

sunita said...

Gorgeous pictures and yummy cookies. Hope you had a great start to the week, dear Priya :-)

Vani said...

That sounded like a super-fun weekend, Priya! Pics are lovely. Cookies look great

Priti said...

Lovely pics Priya...looks so cute

Rush said...

the cookies are sooo cute..they totally rock!!

Mansi said...

Priya, these look amazing! I love shortbread cookies, and all your combos sound divine:) btw, they'd be a perfect fit for the SHF -fruit & nut event that I'm hosting this month:)

Bong Mom said...

Please come share room/house with us, what delightful cookies and such a lovely thought

Vij said...

brilliant pics! I was too lost watchin the pic that I forgot to check out the recipe :-)

Brilliant photography girlie :-)

christy gerald said...

your cookies r looking great as usual.

Neeraja said...

Hi Priya, I've been following your blog for a while now and this is my first comment. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe! I've tried this twice so far (with minor variations) and they've come out really good! :)

Great job with the blog. Keep it going! :)

shameema and shabana said...

lovely site priya ur recipes r soinnovate and do vist our blog and leave us ur comment

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