Daily Archives: 1 May 2012

tuesdays with dorie / baking with julia: hungarian shortbread

Have I mentioned how much I love my cake dome? Along with that comes the enjoyment of making anything that I can store, prettily, on my counter, in the cake dome. This week’s selection for Tuesdays with Dorie / Baking with Julia, the new bi-weekly baking group I’m taking part in, fit that bill. Enter, the lovely Hungarian Shortbread.

I’m a huge fan of the more traditional Scottish shortbread, simple yet rich, tasting purely of its short list of ingredients. I wasn’t sure how this recipe would stack up.

Hungarian shortbread was a completely different animal than what I’ve had before. In addition to the usual butter, flour, and sugar, the recipe called for egg yolks and baking powder. This changed the texture completely. It was more like a dense cake than a cookie.

The technique was unusual as well. The dough was frozen briefly to firm it up. Then you grate it into the pan. This makes for a fluffier crumb.

Two layers of dough sandwich a tart jam in the middle. The recipe in the book included instructions for a homemade rhubarb spread, but I found a jar of rhubarb-raspberry fruit spread in the pantry, from Austria, no less. That seemed perfect to fill my Hungarian shortbread.

I’ll mention that I had a mental block to making a single pan of something that used a full pound of butter. I compromised by making a half recipe in an 8-inch square pan. No less rich, but less of it to eat. Surprisingly, I still needed to bake the smaller pan for the full 40 minutes to bring to golden brown.

I loved the look of the oodles of powdered sugar on top. Some melted, which gave it the look of a crumb cake, and I added an extra dose for fun when the cake cooled.

The suggested size for the finished cookies was 3 inch squares, which, besides not working out evenly for an 8-inch pan, seemed huge to me. I started with 2-inch squares, which I served when my friend April came over for tea. I ended up cutting the rest diagonally into triangles, which seemed like the perfect-size to me.

While these won’t take the place of Scottish shortbread in my heart, but I did like this fancy treat. I’ll definitely make it again. As an added bonus, it’s the right sort of recipe for using up the assorted jars of jam and jelly on my pantry shelves.

If you’d like the recipe, please visit this week’s hosts: the multi-talented and very funny Cher (a fellow Dorista from the Friday group) at The not so excited adventures of a dabbler… and Lynette at 1smallkitchen.