Sometimes I feel like Shaun at the beginning of the movie Shaun of the Dead, where he’s so distracted by other things going on in his life that he fails to notice that everyone is becoming zombies around him. Sometimes he notices little things, but it’s always peripheral, and doesn’t grab his attention until the zombies are (literally) knocking down his door.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about shortbread the past week. Someone will mention it in passing, then I’ll hear a Splendid Table podcast, then I’ll be looking at a news article about Scotland and it’s mentioned. The shortbread is just lurking at the periphery.
Until one day when Mr. Bread Maiden casually mentions, “you know, you could make shortbread.” He’s much more perceptive than I.
And then, because I love Mr. Bread Maiden, I make shortbread.
I got this recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, a wonderful blog. You can check it out here: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2006/11/shortbread.php
The one thing I did change is I added a bunch more salt, to both the recipe and then I sprinkled it on top of the shortbread before baking it. It moderates the sweetness a bit, which we happen to like.
150 grams top-quality butter
70g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
70g stone-ground cornmeal (I used mostly fine-ground but also some coarse-ground)
150g all-purpose flour
a couple teaspoons of kosher salt or sea salt
3. cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in the food processor.
7. Pat the mixture into the buttered pan so it fills the pan and is flat.
9. Take it back out from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Flatten out the top and edges a bit, if you need to (I needed to). Poke little holes in the top with a fork and sprinkle with some salt.
11. Remove from oven and immediately cut into triangles with a knife.