We’ve almost made it through the most brutal winter of my lifetime. I say “almost” because according to the 10-day forecast on my phone, there is still one day with a high of only 39 degrees. I’m crossing my fingers that a) the high doesn’t drop any lower than that and b) a wintry mix doesn’t decide to tag along with the cooler weather. You just never know when you live in Michigan.
In the event that one more snowy morning finds its way into our lives this spring, I have just the thing for you: cardamom shortbread.
It’s the perfect thing to munch on as you snuggle up under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee and a good book as one last cold spell passes through.
The original recipe comes from ATK’s Baking Illustrated.
Makes 16 wedges
1 3/4 cup (8 3/4 ounces)
1/4 cup (1 1/3 ounces) cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
2/3 cup (5 ounces) superfine sugar (if not available, process granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line an ungreased 9-inch round cake pan with a round piece of parchment paper and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set both aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flours, cardamom, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar (reserve for sprinkling), and salt at low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture in a small bowl. Add the butter and any flour remaining to the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix at low speed until the dough is pale yellow and resembles damp crumbs, about 4 minutes.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and toss the mixture lightly with your fingers to fluff and loosen; rub any remaining butter bits into the flour mixture with your fingertips.
4. Turn half the crumbs into a 9-inch parchment-lined cake pan and even lightly with the fingers. Press the mixture firmly into the pan using the bottom of a cup. Add the remaining crumbs and even lightly with fingers. Working quickly, smooth the top of the dough with the back of a spoon. Insert a paring knife between the dough and the pan. Leaving the knife stationary, rotate the pan counterclockwise to free the edges of the dough. Unmold the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Peel the parchment round from the dough; smooth the edges if necessary. Place a 2-inch biscuit cutter in the center of the dough and cut out the center. Place the extruded round to the side, the replace the biscuit cutter.
5. Place the shortbread in the oven; immediately reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 20 minutes; remove the baking sheet from the oven. Score the top surface of the shortbread into 16 even wedges with a thin knife. If desired, pierce a design with a sharp skewer. Return the shortbread to the oven and continue to bake until pale golden, about 40 minutes longer.
6. Slide the parchment with the shortbread onto a cutting board, remove the biscuit cutter from the center, sprinkle the shortbread evenly with the reserved 1 tablespoon sugar, and cut at the scored marks into wedges. Slide the parchment with the shortbread onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours.