Tuesdays with Dorie: Hungarian Shortbread

Tuesdays with Dorie?  More like Wednesday!  I was surprised late Monday night to receive the LYL post – I had written down Hungarian Shortbread for May 8 and Sticky Pecan Rolls for May 22.  I had glanced over both upcoming recipes, so I knew shortbread was the “easy” one for the month.  However, I proceeded to jam it into a day where I’d already run four miles, taken a yoga class, and finished knitting a pair of barrista mitts I’d been working on since January.
Somehow nothing about this baking project was easy – maybe because it was sandwiched between getting back from Charlotte Yarn and school pickup.  I had just enough butter, but not enough sugar – a novice mistake to start baking without checking to be sure I had all the ingredients.  So, with a bowl of room temp butter already fluffed in my Kitchen Aid, I ran to my friend Jean’s for a cup of sugar.

I always find it tricky to add ingredients to the mixer – even if I stop to raise the paddle, it’s so covered with goo that I can barely add the egg yolks or my dry ingredients.  In my rush, I forgot to lock the stand and a cloud of flour fell down upon me as I clicked the mixer on low.  Dusting the flour off my shoes, I continued until all the ingredients were blended seamlessly.  My ball of mostly butter, sugar, and flour turned out easily onto the counter. I split it in half and rolled each into a ball and wrapped it in plastic  for the freezer.

The next part you won’t see coming.  After half an hour in the freezer to harden, you grate the ball of dough into a 9 x 13 baking pan.  It seemed easy at first, until the dough started to warm in my hand and my nice little grated flakes became flying dough balls.  I pressed the dough gently into the pan and its corners, then spread a cup of raspberry jam over top.  The recipe calls for you to make your own rhubarb jam, but as I am not a fan or rhubarb, I opted for a store-bought shortcut.   I could only hope the second ball would be easy to grate – but it really wasn’t.  How is this the “easy” recipe of the month?  I guess because to make the sticky pecan rolls you have to make brioche dough (which is it’s own multi-page recipe!!!!) and then add a bunch of steps (and butter) to that – we’re talking pages of instructions!  But back to the shortbread…

Without a second to spare, I put the shortbread in the oven, and took it out about 40 minutes later and ran out the door to pick up my kiddos.  It was golden brown and smelled wonderful.  By the time we got home, it was just cool enough to cut.  On a lark, I calculated the points plus values (Weight Watchers) and determined it to be 7 points per mini square.   I cut it into 32 squares – the recipe suggested cutting it into 12 or 24.  While delicious, I will take my calories elsewhere.  Something chocolate-y or maybe those sticky buns…

Granted, when most people think shortbread, they think the hard as a rock Walker’s biscuits from the store.  This Hungarian version is much softer, lighter in texture, if shortbread can be light.  If you love shortbread, I would recommend it, but you’ll need some muscle to make these.   I’d prefer chaturangas to grating dough.

Stay tuned for the pecan rolls – they are one of my favorites, so I may just have to give over an entire day to try to make them.  If you want to try this shortbread recipe, visit one of our hosts http://crazyworldofcher.blogspot.com/2012/04/on-shoulders-of-those-before-us-twd.html#more to see it posted.  Check out my barrista mitts!