Archive for March 7th, 2008

Food Friday: King Arthur’s Flour, The Baker’s Store and Shortbread

March 7, 2008

I know it’s been a little thin around here on Food Fridays (ha! not that thin, really) but believe me, if you think the writing about food has been sparse in the last few weeks, you should try eating here. I heart Trader Joe’s Roasted Vegetable Pizzas!

But anyway. Spring is on the verge of springing here, with daffodils in the front yard up now to about four inches, so it is high time that I posted these wintery photos from snowy Vermont and my most recent pilgrimage to The Baker’s Store. Yum.

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Abandon hope (of not eating excessive amounts of baked goods) ye who enter here.
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My partner in crime. He was the one who spilled the scone crumbs on the diaper bag, not me!
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More kinds of flour than you can imagine.

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Something for  absolutely all your cake and cookie decorating needs.

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Mmm, beignets.
Sara, remember eating these at Cafe Dumond in New Orleans?

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If there is a flavoring, oil or extract out there, they have it.

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Part of the Great Wall of Chocolate.

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My favorite. Just used these last weekend to make Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.
I’m running low, send reinforcements!

So, I would recommend a visit, if you haven’t guessed by now. Excellent coffee and baked goods, too, of course. And since it is Food Friday, you’ll need a recipe, this one courtesy of King Arthur’s own test kitchen. I owe my friend Amy a shortbread recipe, and while this isn’t my Scottish grandmother’s recipe, it is VERY good. Notes below are not my own, but come from the bakers at King Arthur’s.

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Shortbread Gone Wild

Shortbread is a wonderful starting point for all kinds of sweet adventures: top it (nuts, chocolate, jam, cinnamon); flavor it (lemon, chocolate, ginger); or do both (cappuccino with a mocha ganache drizzle, anyone?). Then again, if you’re a “make mine vanilla, please” kind of guy or gal, leave it alone; it can stand on its own in perfect simplicity.

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups (9 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 9″ cake pans; or two 8″ patterned shortbread pans; or a combination of the two.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in the flour. Divide the dough in half (each half will weigh about 12 ounces), and press it into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers. The dough will feel stiff, but just keep pressing on it until you’ve covered the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork in an attractive pattern. You can use a fork to prick shortbread dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry.

Bake the shortbread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it’s golden brown around the edges. Remove it from the oven, and loosen the edges with a heat-resistant plastic knife or table knife. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn the shortbread, all in one piece, onto a clean work surface.

Using a pizza wheel, baker’s bench knife, or sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm; if you wait until it’s cool, it won’t cut easily.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool. Once shortbread is cool, go wild!

  • Drizzle with melted caramel;
  • Spread with melted chocolate, and sprinkle with nuts;
  • Set aside two shortbread cookies, and spread the remainder of the cookies with a thick layer of jam or preserves. Crumble the reserved cookies, and sprinkle the crumbs lightly over the jam.

Yield: 2 dozen shortbread wedges.

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