Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11:00-Noon on News Radio 830 WCCO!
I was trying to think of the single Christmas food that is most historical and most contemporary—and I came up with shortbread. Around since the 12th century, shortbread is basically the simplest, richest butter cookie you can make. Modern chefs like to put in all kinds of contemporary ingredients, but even with that it’s easy to make and always excellent. Oh, and here’s the answer to a mystery: Shortbread is “short” because of the crumbly, buttery texture, it’s related to words like shortening (baking fat) and short crust pastry. Here are my top 5 shortbread recipes!
Shortbread Jam Thumbprints
Thumbprint cookies are those ones where you make a thumbprint in the dough and fill it with your favorite jam! Use any kind of jam, from raspberry to orange marmalade to mint.
Spicy Cheddar Shortbread
If you don’t have a sweet-tooth, make your shortbread salty: Mark Bittman of the New York Times, a master of simple and attainable cooking gives us these, drizzle with honey for those guests who need something sweeter.
Shortbread Dipped in Chocolate
There are a gazillion simple shortbread recipes out there, but I’ve picked this one from Ina Garten, because she does simple so well. Shortbread dipped in chocolate. Enough said.
There are a lot of variations in the world for creating a shortbread base and putting something up top – pecan pie, lemon curd, you name it. I like these cranberry bars because they’re colorful, tart, and Christmassy, and why not support our Wisconsin cranberry farmers if we can?
Okay weird but good – I promise. Black pepper, or even black, pink, and green pepper, the way Martha does is just phenomenal with cheese as a final course, and beautiful with dessert drinks, from sipping bourbon to port.