Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread

When I found a Williams Sonoma cookbook: Food Made Fast: Baking, I had to pick it up. Not only have I have had so much success with all of my Williams Sonoma recipes, but I thought it would be interesting to see how they speed up the process. (From the same book as the Chocolate Roll Out Cookies). I was somewhat skeptical that I would have the same results-I feel like no matter the recipe's projected active time, I take double its prescription to accomplish the same tasks. The shortcuts we take for baked goods always seem to be very obvious: the slice and bake cookies with their uniform center emblem, store-bought cookies with their perfectly symmetrical shapes, and those cupcakes with the piled-on-swirly frosting: Gorgeous, but not always delicious. At this point in the holiday season, most of us have had so much pie and so much cake that we're honestly looking forward to the cleansing of the palette that gives way to and becomes our new year resolutions. If you're looking for a recipe that gets in the oven quickly and is not overly sweet, this one is for you.
In case the piles of snow shoved to the side of the road have not yet alerted you to the season's status, it is winter. Cold, snowy, dry winter. There aren’t many fruits available at reasonable prices. The ones that are, well, to say they aren’t even very tasty is an understatement. Don't let the citrus pass you by! It keeps the winter bright. What we have here will give you a very flaky shortbread that lends itself to your predilection. Add dried fruit or finely chopped nuts. Freeze it for later use; it will defrost overnight in your fridge. And seriously, it only takes about ten or fifteen minutes to get in the oven. No excuses.
Lemon-Poppyseed Shortbread
Adapted from Williams Sonoma
½ cup (4oz/125g) + 3 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
Zest of one lemon, finely grated (about 2 tsp)
1 ½ cup flour
2 tbsp poppyseeds
½ tsp salt
Yield: 36 1.5” round cookies
Preheat oven to 325F.
In heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in all remaining ingredients, mixing on medium speed until smooth. Form into ball.
Flour work surface and pat dough into a round. Use rolling pin flatten until dough is ¼” thick.
Using a 1.5” round cookie cutter, cut into rounds and place 1” apart on greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are just slightly browned. Let cool on wire rack.

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