Is there anyone out there who doesn't just love a good dinner party? No? I didn't think so. A few weekends ago some friends got together for dinner, drinks and some very impromptu nineties-pop-hip-hop-karaoke. (Okay, it wasn't karaoke in the sense that we actually had microphones, or speakers, or those tvs with the words on the screen. A remote-control-substitute-for-the-mic does just fine when you really need to belt out some Mariah, BoyzIIMen, TLC, or maybe even some Ace of Base. Or some All4One. I won't judge. Nor will I post any of those photos on this blog.)
For this particular dinner party, I was instructed to bring dessert. Okay, maybe I volunteered myself to bring dessert. No matter. I immediately thought of one of my favorites, toasted oat shortbread cookies. They're easy to make, easy to transport, and they are delicious. One friend, in order to make a Lenten resolution exemption, referred to these little babies as "granola in cookie form." (Who gives up sweets?!?) I would bet that you even have these ingredients in your kitchen right now: oats, butter, flour, salt, and brown sugar.
The original recipe involves baking the shortbread in a tart pan, then topping it with a whipped mascarpone topping and strawberries. I decided to forgo the mascarpone and just stamped out some flower-shaped cookies, topping them with strawberries macerated in champagne and some sugar. Oh so fancy.
Make these tonight. Call me for karaoke, too.
Toasted Oat Shortbread Cookies
adapted from the Oregonian.com, and no, I've never been to Oregon, and don't know how I got to this website, but that's the way the internet works, you just click until you get to the end.
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked (not the quick-cooking kind)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1 stick)
1 pint strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the oatmeal on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until lightly golden and fragrant, 5 - 7 minutes.
In a food processor, add the oatmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Pulse until combined and the oatmeal is chopped. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbles.
To make a tart crust: Pat the dough into a 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use the back of a measuring cup to spread it evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
To make cookies: Pat the dough evenly into an 8-inch square baking dish lined with a parchment paper "sling." (This makes it easier to remove after baking - just line the dish with parchment paper, leaving at least 3 inches overhang on each side. To remove after cooled, just lift up the paper and badabing.) Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from pan while still warm and cut into squares or other shapes.
To make crumbles: Pat the dough into an even 1/4 inch layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When cool, break the shortbread into crumbles, being careful not to eat half of it as you go.
While the shortbread is baking, hull and slice the strawberries. Place them in a medium sized bowl with a few glugs of champagne or white wine and a few teaspoons of sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top each shortbread with strawberries. Devour.