Recently I've found myself walking down memory lane more often than normal, and was struck recently by a memory of my dad scarfing down shortbread cookies when I was little. As I recall we always had them around for holidays, and often, just as a special treat we would pick up a box of them when at the grocery store for my father. Those buttery little cookies were definitely his weakness. As I reflected on this, I realized that I haven't had a shortbread cookie in a ridiculously long time, so given the opportunity to supply baked goods for a bake sale this past weekend, I decided to try my hand at them.
I found a basic recipe on line at Joyofbaking.com (http://www.joyofbaking.com/printpages/shortbreadprint.html) and decided to see if I could customize it a bit. After really loving the combination of lemon and rosemary from my gremolata the other day, I decided to try to replicate this flavor marriage. Shortbread is always so buttery and decadent, the idea of lightening it up with the taste of acidity, and that great woodsy-ness of rosemary just seemed like a perfect match!
As I set out making the cookies though- I realized that I had committed a grievous error. I had failed to read the directions carefully and had enough granulated sugar on hand but no powdered sugar, as the recipe called for. Being rather short on time to make these little devils, I decided to push through anyway and continue in my quest. I began by chopping several sprigs of fresh rosemary in a fine powder like substance, and then zested a lemon and half and ran my knife through that a few times. Then I began to follow the recipe by creaming 4 sticks of butter (I doubled the recipe), and then adding the rest of the ingredients as instructed by the recipe. Once it was all incorporated, I added the lemon and rosemary and blended for a just another minute or two, mindful of not over beating the dough. Then I scooped all of the dough together, wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two. Once completely chilled, I rolled it out to about a 1/4 thick, and then set to work on cutting out cute little bars. These guys got baked for about 10- 15 minutes, when they started to brown, I pulled them from the oven.
For a first attempt at shortbread, and utilizing the wrong type of sugar- these little guys were delicious! Light and buttery just as I remember, with great note of lemon. The rosemary was very faint in the background- so the next time I make these I need to come up with another way to really have that flavor shine. The best part though? The bake sale raised over $100 for Operation Frontline, an offset of Share Our Strength, which organizes education programs for children to learn to cook. What a great cause!