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.

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Posted on 1 May 2012, in Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Oh so cute your triangles!
    Delicious Shortbread!
    I’ve made some little changes to save fat and Kcal and was still delicious!
    Greetings from Switzerland.

  2. thekitchenlioness

    Your raspberry-rhubarb fruit spread layer looks delicous. The idea of cutting the Hungarian Shortbread into triangles looks very pretty, probably makes it a bit less messy to eat than my wedges – particularly with that generous layer of confectioner’ s on top that the recipe calls for. Very nice post, Betsy!

  3. These were a nice treat, weren’t they? (And I totally agree about using the cake dome – it makes me feel so “fancy”)
    Thanks for baking along this week! See you on flounder-Friday!

  4. I definitely need to get a cake dome! Your shortbread wedges look so pretty hanging out on yours!

  5. Yes, the square size seemed a bit HUGE for me too! I think I still prefer Lorna Doone or Scottish shortbread with my tea instead although this was a really nice treat :)

  6. I found these to be utterly delicious but a bit too sweet for me! If I didn’t freeze them I’d be overdosing on them. I’m with Alice…Scottish shortbread for me with my tea! Your bars look lovely…so glad you enjoyed them! Happy May Day, Betsy!

  7. I enjoyed your post! :) I liked trying out this recipe and grating the dough…and everyone loved it. I like how you cut them in triangles.

  8. I loved these – and the grating part? Yes!

  9. I love your triangles! Great post :)

  10. heathersbytes

    Your triangles are beautiful! I agree, these would be great with any jam!

  11. Now I want to try Scottish shortbread!

  12. I love your tea set! I have one but never seem to use it, I’ll have to try to think of an excuse…

  13. I don’t think I have ever had raspberry-rhubarb jam before. What a nice change from the usual strawberry-rhubarb that you see. Your shortbread is nice and thick and looks lovely on your cake plate. Love the triangular shapes!

  14. I don’t know how I missed this post, Betsy. I love the triangle shape – these were very rich, but I really like them.

  15. Lovely shortbread! Love the idea of cutting the squares into triangles. Sounds like the perfect serving size.

  16. The triangle shape is so pretty! I love that you found some European jam to go with it, too. We made the full recipe, but were able to spread it around the extended family. We’ve had a lot of recipes that are perfect for sharing this month, in both groups.

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