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Shortbread Hearts

Started by Bynw, January 21, 2017, 07:59:33 AM

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Shortbread Hearts By Melissa

We've all had those hard, dry "shortbread" cookies that have the consistency and flavor of sweetened dog biscuits. THIS shortbread is tender and crisp and gently sweet. It's the best use for half a pound of butter that I've ever found—just don't serve it to your cardiologist.

Preheat oven to 375º, and lightly grease cookie sheets.
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 3/4 cup regular flour
1/4 cup rice flour*

Note: You can use two full cups of regular flour if rice flour is not easily obtained where you are and the cookies will still be delicious. But rice flour lifts this shortbread from the delicious to the sublime, and is worth trying to find. Look at any store you know of that sells bulk spices and/or unusual grains. The chances are good you can find some there. Failing that, look in the baking supplies aisle of your market, and you may find a bag there hiding among the scone mixes.
With an electric beater, combine softened butter and confectioner's sugar until thoroughly blended. Gradually sift in the flour until completely incorporated. If dough is sticky, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. On a well-floured pastry board with a well-floured rolling pin, roll out half the dough at a time to the desired thickness and cut out the hearts with a medium-sized cookie cutter. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookies. Cookies should be delicately brown at the edges and on the bottoms. Let cool on wire racks. Serve the cookies warm or cold with hot tea or coffee. Your guests will be suitably impressed. Variations:
I. Add grated zest from one orange or lemon to dough after the flour has been completely incorporated.
II. Add 1tsp ground ginger to the flour, and a scant cup of coarsely chopped crystallized ginger chunks to the finished dough. (VERY good!)
III Add 1/4 cup ground almonds to the butter and sugar. Be sure to reduce flour by 1/4 cup, or shortbread will be too dry.
You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!