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

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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16 Responses to “Food Friday: King Arthur’s Flour, The Baker’s Store and Shortbread”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    That wall of chocolate has several bars of my favorite, Scharffenberger. Cool!

  2. Kim Says:

    Where in Vermont is that! I love Vermont, but wasn’t baking when I was living there. That store looks wonderful, and so don’t your cookies!

  3. B. Says:

    Yum!

  4. La Says:

    I’m sort of glad I don’t live near that store, because I would buy the entire thing.

  5. Sara Says:

    How could I forget!!!

  6. itsallabouthallie Says:

    MMMMMM…looks like a great place to go!!

  7. erin Says:

    that wall of chocolate looks amazing.

  8. Maria Says:

    The King of Flour and all things sweet should hire you to do their publicity !
    Do they have any idea that you devote photo SPREADS to them!
    I’m a huge admirer of extracts, vanilla and almond are my favorites!
    It doesn’t matter that it’s winter, those pictures hold all of the promise of good things to come (spring, chocolate treats, chocolate treats with sprinkles, chocolate treats with almond extract, bread with chocolate treats……..Have a good day everyone!

  9. laura Says:

    Mmmmmm….

  10. katy Says:

    After Anna mentioned it here, I went to the flagship store too. It is amazing. My friend Philippa & I skipped a day of skiing with our families (boo hoo.) to go. I have no regrets. I’m so happy to revisit that happy day through Anna’s photos.

    It might seem coarse to mention it, but Philippa & I are both very pleased with ourselves for selecting the sacks of powdered cheese for making our own “Annie’s” style mac & cheese. We made some higher-tone baking purchases as well. But that cheese! You can also use it to make your own smartfood-ish popcorn. Ok. Enough.

    I am definitely making your shortbread this week. Thank you.

  11. Anna Says:

    Katy, I speculated on buying the same stuff! I guess I should have–I will next time!
    Anna

  12. JenBun Says:

    Gah! Yum! We are studying donuts’ effects on the brain around here (sponsored by Krispy Kreme!), and now I think we need to expand the research to include shortbread! Lots and lots of shortbread… *drool*

  13. Anth Says:

    Mmm, I am now salivating…

  14. libound Says:

    I thought I was a “plain vanilla” shortbread person, but yum, ginger, mocha . . . thanks for this, esp. your pic of your little scone-crumb dropper.

  15. carrievoris Says:

    Oh My Stars. I would so spend an entire paycheck in that store. Yum…probably on the “chocolate wall” alone. *sigh*

  16. Food Friday: Whole Grain Baking with King Arthur and a giveaway « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] Press. Believe me, you WANT this book. Winners will be announced next Friday, when I am back from my annual trip to Baker’s Mecca King Arthur’s Baker’s Store in Vermont. Good […]

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