I celebrated my 41st birthday a few weeks ago, and thought that it would be fun to celebrate with a simple and amazing dessert inspired by one that I had at Chado's Tea Room last year when I celebrated my 40th birthday.
But first, because I couldn't imagine celebrating a birthday without chocolate, my husband surprised me with a slice of Claim Jumper's famous Chocolate Motherlode Cake. It's 6 layers of deep, dark, rich chocolate cake that's layered and frosted with chocolate ganache frosting. Amazing. Thanks, honey!
Ok, back to shortbread . . .
I'm a big fan of it! I adore this buttery, golden-colored, sweet, crumbly cookie . . . especially with a cup of tea!
I can't believe it's taken me this long to make my own shortbread! Out of curiosity, I researched shortbread recipes, and noticed that there are very simple versions . . . and then there are more complicated ones. Some call for special flours, while some don't; and some call for varying baking temperatures, while others don't. So which method is best?
Since I'm not Scottish and don't have a recipe that's 'the real deal,' I turned to my favorite (and trusted) Cook's Illustrated Cookbook for their 'best shortbread' recipe . . . and it delivered a superlative shortbread that was crisp and buttery rich. Perfection.
Although shortbread is amazing eaten all by its lonesome, I had special plans for this batch!
I thought I would recreate a memorable dessert we had at Chado's Tea Room last year . . . vanilla bean ice cream doused with hot Madagascar Vanilla Bean Tea. How can something so simple be so good!?
Often, it's simple dishes and desserts (like this one) that are the best and most memorable.
My sister gifted me a bag of one of my favorite loose leaf teas called Velvet Tea. It's heavenly!
So I thought I would drown vanilla bean ice cream with hot Velvet Tea . . . and enjoy it with fresh, home-made short bread. What a treat! It was so good . . . and brought back happy memories from last year's birthday.
If you love affogato al caffe, then you might be interested in trying this spin off . . . affogato with tea! Just pour your favorite tea, whether it's a cup of chai, earl grey or even green tea, over vanilla ice cream. I think stronger tea works best to really add some flavor. So if you're brewing a loose leaf tea, double the amount that you would normally prepare for a stronger flavored tea.
My husband and little ones weren't interested in my Velvet Tea drowned ice cream with shortbread, so I assembled peaches & cream over shortbread for them . . . and they loved it!
The 'best shortbread' was a win WIN for everyone!
courtesy Cook's Illustrated
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1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
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Preheat oven to
F. Place the collar of a 9-inch spring form pan
upside down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (The groove of the collar should
be at the top.)
Pulse the oats in a mini prep or food processor until reduced to fine powder, about ten 5-second pulses. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix ground oats, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the butter to the mixer and continue to mix on low speed until dough just forms and pulls away from sides of bowl, 5 to 10 minutes.
Press the dough into the spring form collar in an even 1/2-inch-thick layer, smoothing top of dough with back of spoon. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut a hole in the center of the dough. Place the round alongside spring form collar on baking sheet and place the biscuit cutter back into the hole in the center of the dough. Open the spring form collar all the way, but leave it in place around the dough.
Bake the shortbread 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 F. Continue to bake the shortbread until the edges turn pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove baking sheet from oven and turn off oven. Remove the biscuit cutter and spring form pan collar; use a chef’s knife to score surface of shortbread into 16 even wedges, cutting halfway through shortbread. Using a wooden skewer, poke 8 to 10 holes in each wedge. Return the shortbread to the oven and prop door open with handle of wooden spoon. Allow the shortbread to dry in turned-off oven until pale golden in center, about 1 hour.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the shortbread to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Cut shortbread at scored marks to separate.
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