Friday, March 26, 2010
Everyone knows the perfect composition of shortbread – simple, crisp, buttery. Combine the right amount of flour, an abundance of butter, a whisper of sugar and a hint of salt and you have a delectable cookie that would please anyone anywhere.
Given my penchant for oatmeal, I just had to take it one tiny step further. However, the same results obtain. Because the oatmeal is ground with the flour, you still wind up with a crunchy, crumbly cookie rather than a chewy one. And the lovely oat flavor is all there, especially when you invite oatmeal’s famous lover, brown sugar. What I like about these cookies is that they are very light and have no heavy after effects, even if you eat two.
If you’re in the mood to go back to the basics, this is a uniquely satisfying cookie. It’s so easy to make that you will find yourself looking for excuses not to bake another tray. It would go well as the centerpiece for a gathering of friends at the table or as one of the featured guests at a beautiful brunch or as the best gift for a friend in need.
- This shortbread is baked for a long while at a low temperature. This allows for a nice toasty flavor and a crispy crunchiness that is typical of delicious shortbread. Unlike classic shortbread, this version does take on some color.
- Salt is very important to keep oatmeal from tasting flat.
- I used an 8” tart ring. You can also use a 9” tart pan or square pan, just check it the last few minutes. The top should be firm to the touch. If you happen to underbake the shortbread, cut into pieces and toast in the oven for an additional few minutes.
- Scoring the shortbread when it comes out of the oven and cutting into pieces with a very sharp knife while it is still warm will give you nice clean slices instead of jagged shards. Or, if you are in the mood for savagery, break it into pieces with friends as you would the astonishing Italian Almond Sbrisolona.
- I might be tempted to add a bit of espresso powder to the mix next time. If you’re crazy about cinnamon, you would also enjoy it here.
- If you're a fiend for oatmeal, you'd probably also enjoy Oatmeal Ice Cream, Oatmeal Banana Cake or Oatmeal Shortcake with Plums.
Makes 16 wedges
1 C flour
1/2 C oatmeal, plus a bit more for garnish
1/2 t salt
3 T sugar
3 T brown sugar
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 t vanilla
raw or turbinado sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8” tart pan.
Place the flour, oatmeal and salt into the bowl of a food processor and process until the oatmeal is finely ground. Add the sugar and blend. Add the pieces of cold butter and vanilla and process until the mixture comes together in clumps around the bowl.
Gently press the mixture into the pan, making sure it is evenly spread. Sprinkle a smattering of oats and then raw sugar over the surface and gently press into the surface.
Bake the shortbread for 60 minutes. As soon as you remove from the oven, take the point of a sharp knife and score the top into serving pieces. Cool the shortbread in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and gently slice into pieces while still warm.