so rich and so fresh

June 19, 2006 at 3:35 am (mirepoix)

i've been working on a chocolate cupcake batter and have finally reached a simple, moist and flavorful version that could be whipped up in one bowl. (i think my family and friends won't be able to eat another cupcake and i am grateful for their constructive criticism of my many trial runs). it involves a few layerings of flavorings and i'll post the recipe as soon as i get pictures. the impetus for this project is that i'm going to be making them for my cousin's not-so-debut debut. step 2 of project cupcake crazy: gum paste daisy flowers!

so i picked up this cookbook, forever summer by nigella lawson at ross for literally free99. i have learned to never buy cookbooks at retail price anymore and ross is where one could often find many a culinary gem. there's this recipe for vanilla shortbread in the book that really was pulling at me, calling me with it's rich, stick-to-the-roof-of-your mouth cookie personality. all week i've been wanting to try it out, however, only finally got the chance while spending the weekend away from the bay. this sucker is super rich, lemme tell ya, flecked with vanilla beans that literally melts in your mouth. the only pan that i had available was a wilton springform pan and i should have made two batches instead of one. the result: chunky wedges of crumbly, buttery artery clogging goodness. i like almost everything a bit more toasted than usual so my version of vanilla shortbread was browned a bit more than advised. shortbread, i've learned, got its name because the flour is shortened by the addition of fat (butter). one could add a bit of dutch-processed cocoa and i'd think it would a great choco version. 

vanilla shortbread, adapted from forever summer – nigella lawson

**1 3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour (preferably 00 italian flour) 

3/4 cups confectioner's sugar

2/3 cup cornstarch

**1 vanilla bean, scraped

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. sweet butter (unsalted), softened at room temp.

sugar for sprinkling

**places you could get:

vanilla beans- traderjoe's (as well as other baking goodies)

00 italian flour – williams-sonoma, whole foods, a.g. ferrari's

– throw all the dry stuff in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. add butter and pulse till a big ball clumps around the blade.

– spread dough mixture into a jelly roll pan using the back of a spoon. make sure to spread evenly. evenly cut out rectangles using a sharp knife. with a fork, press holes into each piece. this will allow the cookies to evenly cook.

–  bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

– sprinkle sugar atop baked cookies. allow pan to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling wire.

a few weeks ago, i went to an awards ceremony in santa monica where they served this awesome butter cookie drizzled in dark chocolate. this is a distant cousin of what i made today so i guess i'll try and experiment sometime.  

question of the week: what is your favorite cookie??

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