Another Shot at the Shortbread

This isn’t my first attempt at the shortbread. But I finally I managed to get the dough right, cooked it at the right temperature, followed the technique to the T and every bite of the shortbread is a perfect melting moment.

The classic shortbread needs only 4 ingredients, then what could possibly go wrong?  Take care of the following and you should get a decent shortbread.

  1.  Butter should be at the room temperature and soft enough to mix well.
  2. When you cream together butter and sugar, don’t over beat it. Beat only till the two are mixed well.
  3. When you add flour to sugar-butter mix, mix with the beater for a minute then knead the dough with hand.
  4. Don’t roll the dough before baking it. Flatten it / make shapes of your choice with your hands.

In my pursuit of making shortbread, I read a few blogs, watched some videos, scanned through cookery books – I am amazed to know that there are so many different methods of making that perfect shortbread. Some recipes replace 1/4th plain flour by rice flour, some add corn starch and some use icing sugar instead of granulated sugar. While I stuck to my basic four ingredients, here are some interesting links on ‘shortbread’;

http://bakingforbritain.blogspot.in/2008/02/scottish-shortbread.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/sep/30/how-to-make-perfect-shortbread

Note down the recipe.

Ingredients;

½ cup sieved granulated sugar

1 cup lightly salted butter at room temperature (if you use unsalted butter, add a tsp of salt to the flour)

1 ½ sieved plain flour

A dash of vanilla (essence or use seeds from the vanilla pod)

 Procedure;

  1. Cream together butter and sugar with a spoon or blender.
  2. Add vanilla essence, all the flour and mix only till the time all the ingredients come together.
  3. Keep the blender aside and mix the dough by hand.
  4. Divide the dough in equal portions. Shape the dough as shortbread fingers – the length of a finger and thickness of about 1cm.
  5. Line up the entire lot of shortbread fingers on a baking tray.
  6. With a fork make light puncture marks at three places on each shortbread finger. This will help release bubbles
  7. Chill the fingers for 20 mins before baking.
  8. While the fingers are in the fridge, preheat the oven at 160 C
  9. Remove the fingers from the freezer and put them straight into the oven. Bake for about 35-40 mins till they turn golden brown.
  10. Take the fingers out of the oven. Sprinkle granulated sugar on them while they are hot.

 

Let the shortbreads cool. Store in air tight container.

Chelsea Buns for the champions

I had no idea what ‘Chelsea buns’ are till I stumbled upon this recipe sometime back while browsing . The name got me curious and I started gathering information.

What better reason to bake these goodies than Chelsea’s surprise victory in UEFA championship?

Chelsea buns are very British buns invented in London. They are made from dried spices and dried fruits and are ideal with afternoon tea (I loved them with black coffee though). The fragrance can sometimes be mistaken for cinnamon rolls.

Chelsea Buns taste somewhat like scones with a nice cinnamon flavor.

The tricky part in this whole recipe I would say is the dough.

 

Let’s get started;

For the DOUGH

2 ½ tsp of fresh yeast

250 ml fresh milk (at room temperature)

400 grams of plain flour

50 grams of granulated sugar

50 grams of melted butter (+ a little more for greasing the pan)

½ tsp of salt (I didn’t use salt. I used salted butter instead. It’s much easier to find in stores)

For the FILLING

50 grams granulated sugar

1 tbsp of cinnamon powder

50 grams mixed dried fruits (only fruits avoid nuts)

 

Preparation before you start

  1. Measure all ingredients
  2. Melt the butter
  3. Add fresh yeast to the milk and whisk till the yeast dissolves completely
  4. Mix cinnamon and sugar together
  5. Grease the tin with melted butter

 

 

Procedure

  1. In a large bowl / pan sieve flour and add sugar to the flour. Mix well.
  2. Add melted butter to the flour and start mixing slowly with hand.
  3. Start pouring milk with one hand and simultaneously start mixing the flour with the other hand.
  4. Knead the dough gently till it comes off the sides of the bowl.
  5. Cover with a cling film and let it rest for 1-2 hours. The dough will rise to double its size in that time.
  6. Once the dough is ready. Roll it on a flat surface.
  7. With a brush, apply generous amount of melted butter on the surface of the dough.
  8. Sprinkle ‘cinnamon-sugar mix’ and dried fruits all over the buttered surface.
  9. Gently, roll the dough along the edges (like a Swiss roll) till the end. Seal the edges.
  10. Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and divide the roll into 9 equal buns.
  11. Place the portions on the buttered tin. Cover with a cling film and leave it for 30-45 mins until they have doubled in size. The gaps between individual portions will vanish; it will look like a big bun muddle.

 

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C
  2. 18.   Bake the buns for 25-30 mins (mine is not a fast heating oven. Fast heating oven will take around 15-20 mins)
  3. Once baked, cool them on the wire rack.

Eat as soon as you can! If you like add a bit of cheese cream icing on the top.

 

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