Quick post today to break up the parade of ice creams. Last week, Mother Humble came through the door and thrust a half eaten cookie at me, insisting I try it. She had been at the Bastille Café in Seattle earlier that day, enjoying some yummy french treats, including this rather ordinary looking cookie.
For whatever reason, my general ban on food--particularly half eaten sort--fished out of purses wasn't being rigorously enforced and I scarfed the cookie down.
While it was no science cookie (making a new batch soon!), I had to agree with her, it was quite good. Sandy, buttery, laced with cardamom and worth reproducing.
So this weekend I spent a day cloning these cookies--as well as angrily testing and retesting some new cake recipes but that's for another post. Now, usually I use a rice/AP flour combo in my shortbread but this time I thought I would try adapting an interesting CIA recipe base that used equal parts cake and bread flour. The resulting cookie is not only delicious, but also bakes up beautifully.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft
yields 5 dozen 2" cookies
227g bread flour
227g cake flour
generous pinch salt
312g butter, cool but pliable enough to beat*
57g egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
*What does that mean?! Essentially as cool and firm as your mixer can handle. Butter that still has some chill just creams so much better.
(Variations -- Chai spice: replace the cardamom with chai spice powder. Citrus: Replace the cardamom with two tablespoons orange, lemon or lime zest. Vanilla bean: Omit the cardamom and add an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste)
In a medium bowl, sift together the flours and the salt. Set aside.
Cut the butter into pieces and add to your stand mixer with the sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (roughly 5 minutes). Then beat in the egg yolks, cardamon and vanilla paste/extract.
Add the flours and then mix briefly on low speed until just combined. Add a few drops of water (less than a teaspoon) to the mix if the dough seems overly coarse.
Divide the dough into two or three equal portions and roll into 1 1/2" diameter logs. Wrap with wax paper and chill for at least 20 minutes. (Tip: For perfectly round cookies, periodically remove the wrapped dough from the fridge and roll on the counter top. This will prevent/correct any flat sides as the dough firms up.)
Once the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and brush lightly with beaten egg white. Coat the log in sugar and re-wrap with the waxed paper and return to refrigerator until ready to bake. You can store these cookies for up to 5 days before baking, tightly wrapped.
When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Remove the chilled log from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4-1/3" thick rounds. Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment, giving them room to spread.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until edges are golden brown.
Enjoy (with or without purse lint).