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shortbread: a process

(post, Sarah Gilbert)

I have been making a lot of shortbread. It's quick, it's simple, it has few ingredients, it's easy to make well using honey as a substitute for sugar. And it allows me a great foil for playing with interesting flavor combinations. I made chocolate vanilla salt last night and it was so delicious I typed up the recipe and emailed to a friend who responded eagerly to my tweet. Here it is:

--1/2 cup butter, soft
--1/3 cup (or a little more) honey
cream it together
--1/3 cup (I think, may have been less) equal exchange cocoa (or something appropriately delicious)
--1/3 cup brown rice flour (you could substitute anything here but i'm experimenting with using brown rice flour in my shortbread)
--few pinches of good salt (I use the vanilla taha'a salt from The Meadow, because I'm obsessed)
whisk those together good and then start mixing in the flour
--2-ish cups white flour (I use a stone-ground white whole wheat from Bob's Red Mill that is a little more coarse than your regular flour)
keep mixing (I use a wooden spoon but a stand mixer would work great too), adding flour 1/2 cup at a time or so, until you have a dough that holds together well but isn't sticky. If you go beyond the sticky to dry and crumbly, add a little liquid -- usually I add cream -- to get it back to shortbread consistency

I press it into long rectangles and score them into about 1" x 1 1/2" pieces on a cookie sheet. you could do anything though -- make into a log, refrigerate, and cut into slices; press into shortbread molds; or just shape by hand into little cookie pieces (I made a heart tonight with the dough left on the spoon). I bake at 300 - 310 degrees just until they're barely crispy on the edges (it's hard to tell when they're chocolate), about 15-20 minutes.