It Might Be Time for a Tea Party

In my quest to use more vanilla beans, I created another yummy cookie based on a really basic, easy recipe.

A fancier take on a nostalgic duo...

A less artificial take on a nostalgic duo.

I had also recently bought some nice big navel oranges, so I zested the heck out of one of them, then tossed them in the Kitchenaid with a mixture of butter, sugar and flour.  The result?

shortbread-pile-large-2

My hands smelled yummy pretty much all day after stacking these.

Looking at the recipe I based this off of, I realize that I forgot an ingredient I bought especially for it: rice flour!  I honestly have no idea how I forgot it, but these shortbreads are insanely tender and crumbly the way they are.  Probably because of the full pound of butter?

shortbread-pyramid-large-2

Fragrant rectangles abound!

I cut them very small, so they’re just two or three bites each, and have some cute little edge pieces that I may add chocolate to, if I have enough.  Pictures to follow if I do…

The Leaning Tower of Shortbreads, etc.

The Leaning Tower of Shortbreads, etc.

I’d recommend these with tea…I’m not really a fan of Earl Grey, pretty as it is, but this might go well with it.  The vanilla beans are easily visible, and the particularly oily zest of the orange I used creates a bright pop of citrus flavor.

Vanilla Orange Shortbreads

shortbread-stackspiral-large-2

Shortbread helix, anyone?

1 lb. (2 cups) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

3 1/2 cups AP flour

Insides of 1 large (4-5″) vanilla bean

2/3-3/4 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar until very fluffy.  Gradually add the flour, then mix in the vanilla and zest.  Once the dough becomes stiff and smooth, turn it out into a 10×15″ jelly roll pan.  I lined mine with parchment paper to avoid sticking and it worked perfectly.  Press the dough down and spread it evenly in the pan, then score lines in the bars.  With a fork, poke holes in the tops of each of the designated squares.  Sprinkle with sugar, then bake for 30-35 minutes (until golden, but nowhere near burned).  While the shortbread is still hot, cut along the pre-cut lines with a sharp knife.  Allow to cool completely; once the shortbread is dry, the pieces will come out of the pan very easily.

shortbread-wheel-large-2

Looks kind of like clockwork. Sweet, buttery clockwork.

I loved smooshing the dough into the pan…I tried just smearing it around with a spatula for a while, but found it more effective to use my fingers.  The dough is all velvety and nice…my hands smelled lovely after this, too!

These are so simple and yummy that I might try making them with other citrus, as well.  I picked up a crate of clementines at the store the other day, and would love to bake something with them.  Too bad they’re far too delicious on their own.  Maybe the next crate…

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One response to “It Might Be Time for a Tea Party

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday Mom! « Informal Blathering

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