Tartine Bakery: Lemon Shortbread

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Gosh. I really could devote a couple posts to the happenings since my last update (namely, wedding) but that will have to be another day. I do have some ideas for some posts about the wedding, though. So stay tuned if that’s of interest!

In the meantime, I decided to make shortbread this morning. This will be shortbread attempt #2. Attempt #1 was using Ina Garten’s recipe, pre-blog. (It was mediocre, I thought). #2 was a rousing success: light, buttery, and the recipe couldn’t be more foolproof. It’s so straightforward, the list of ingredients is super short, and it’s technically a one-bowl recipe if you’re doing the basic shortbread (not lemon-flavored). Me, I find an excuse to add lemon to anything. Like garlic and pepper, I feel like lemon makes most things better.

As an experiment, I actually made a couple of mini-cheesecakes in a mini-muffin tin using this shortbread. Those turned out nicely, too. To do that, pat the shortbread mixture into mini-muffin liners. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and add the cheesecake filling on top (I just used the Philly mini-cheesecake recipe, but only followed it loosely. I added sugar, vanilla, and butter to cream cheese – to taste). Bake for another 25-30 min or so. Then I also added a layer of sour cream topping after they’d cooled.

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Lemon Shortbread (Adapted from Tartine Bakery’s recipe, courtesy of the Dessert Before Dinner blog)

3/4 cups wheat flour
1 cup + 2 Tbsp soft unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt (I used kosher)
1 ¾ cup +2 Tbsp flour
⅓ cup sugar (+ more for topping, if you wish. I omitted this)
Zest from 2 small lemons

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Zest lemon and add to sugar
  3. Cream salt, lemon-sugar mixture, and butter together. Mix flour in with butter until smooth
  4. Pat dough into a 6×10 inch pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden
  5. Remove from oven. Cut into small fingers while warm but let cool completely before removing from pan

I had a piece right out of the oven and it was delicious. The shortbread retained their lightness long after they’d cooled, though, and they were just as good.

Baking this morning gave me a chance to catch up on one of my favorite music podcasts. And I have to say, zesting a lemon while listening to Greg and Jim list their favorite Lou Reed/Velvet Underground albums felt like the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. So was hearing one of the listeners talk about how there’s a belief in Ireland about a river of creativity that flows and is shared from artist to artist (meant to illustrate his point about U2 being influenced by Van Morrison).

Am I the only one who finds that poetic and beautiful?