Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Drop Shortbread

In my house, as a kid, I remember my grandmother always making drop shortbread cookies at Christmastime.  It was never the hard, dry Scottish shortbread.  It was a powdery white cookie, dropped by the spoonful onto the pan with half of a maraschino cherry stuck into the middle of each one, some red, some green, little Christmas coloured shiny blobs in a mound of white.  I hated those cherries at first, and forever hated them in anything BUT these cookies.  But over the years I came to appreciate about how these buttery and simple shortbread cookies came to life with the addition of those little cherry bits in them.

And then I had kids.  And they loved the drop shortbread cookies, and hated the cherries.  I tried to bake them with everything and anything else that I could--red and green coloured sugar crystals, Hersheys Kisses, jujubes--and just eventually started making the drop shortbread PLAIN.  Gasp!  I know, I know, eh? I didn't know then what I know now about candied fruit and food colouring and all the other other awful crap they put in those marachino "cherries".

But you know what?  We all loved those cookies plain.  They were simple and light and just sort-of crumbled apart in the mouth.  They were only lightly sweet and smooth and buttery and it was too, too easy to gobble up 12 of them.  They went down easy.

Well, shortbread cookies are really just flour, powdered sugar, and butter.  No eggs.  No vanilla.  No anything fancy or weird or difficult to find.  Creating a shortbread-flavoured cookie without flour and powdered sugar was not an easy thing to do since those were the only flavours in them.  It took a few tries.  And the end result??  Sure, they don't look like the real deal.  Not when you grind your own almonds into flour like I do.  (If you can afford the super-fine ground almond meal, I'm sure they'll look pretty authentic.  But I can't.)

And while the ground almonds in these cookies have a bit more chewiness than traditional shortbread, these cookies still crumble gently in the mouth like drop shortbread should, and the buttery simple sweetness comes pretty damn close to what I remember it should be.  So try them.  They're oh-so-simple to make.  Have them with a spot of Earl Grey tea.  You're welcome.

Drop Shortbread

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

  • 2 c slivered almonds, blended/processed into almond meal
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Blend almonds in food processor as finely as you can.  You can use almond meal if you already have that, same measurement.  Add your coconut sugar and blend a bit more.  You're trying to finely grind the sugar, too, if you can.  If you can't, don't sweat it.  Add coconut flour.  Add butter in cubes, pulsing, until all blended and a dough forms.

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or use an insulated cookie sheet without parchment).  Bake 25 minutes.  Let cool 5-7 minutes before trying to move from pan to cooling rack.  Cookies are delicate.

Nutrition Facts (per cookie)
81 calories
6g fat (3g saturated)
5g carbohydrate
2g fiber
2g protein

1 comment:

  1. Mmm these sound delicious. The story about your grandmother is very cute! At my local health food store they sell jarred bing cherries...I wonder if you could use those? I've never checked out the ingredients but now I have my eye on it!