Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Strawberry Shortbread

How cruelly sweet are the echoes that start,
When memory plays an old tune on the heart.
-Eliza Cook


Vanilla shortbread with a glossy glazing of strawberry jam. It was covered with another layer of shortbread, baked, cut into hearts and lightly dusted with snowy sugar.

But then my hesitant heart, full of memories and old tunes, got in the way. I wanted to send it to him but couldn't.

Don't worry. Co-workers devoured it in minutes. And now you can, too, if you're so inclined. Bake it for yourself... or someone else you love:

Vanilla Shortbread with Strawberry Jam

2 cups (2 sticks/16 T.) salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour, fluffed up
1 heaping t. baking powder
1 T. kosher salt
2 large eggs
½ vanilla bean (or 1 ½ T. vanilla extract)
1 ½ cups strawberry jam
¼ cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325° F. In large, cold bowl, work butter and sugar together with wooden spoon. Measure flour and dump on top of butter/sugar mixture into a cloudy mountain. (Now we're baking.) Add baking powder and salt on top of flour. Toss dry ingredients together lightly with clean fingers, then use wooden spoon to begin incorporating flour into butter and sugar. When barely coming together, add eggs to the bowl. Break yolks with wooden spoon. If you’re using vanilla extract, pour it in with the eggs and mix together. If you’re using a vanilla bean, thoroughly incorporate eggs into dough, then scrape the seeds from half the vanilla bean and mix in now. Dough should be a bit shaggy. It’s okay.

Divide dough in two equal parts and scrape half the mixture from the bowl. Press onto a sheet pan. (I use my trusty Pampered Chef baking stone to bake this recipe and always have. If you don’t have a pizza stone or rimmed stone baking sheet, get you one soon. If you don’t have one, use a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or silpat. But just know your ‘bread won’t be as tender.) Lightly press dough onto sheet to a 1/2 inch thickness, using a glass or rolling pin if necessary. Top dough with your favorite jam. (Strawberry and raspberry were popular at henrybella’s.)

Roll remaining half of dough out on a lightly floured counter or board to a ½ inch thickness. Transfer onto jam-glazed half. (You’ll probably ace this, but I always manage to tear the dough and have to patch my top with jagged dough pieces.) It’s okay if the top cracks, jam oozes through, or you need to piece the top to cover all the jam. This is very forgiving.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until sides just begin to turn golden and dough looks firm. (This may be 17 or 18 minutes for some.) Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, transfer to parchment paper, and dust with a shower of powdered sugar.

Give to or enjoy with someone special. That’s what it’s all about.

14 comments:

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

If this is anything like your other strawberry bread from a couple of years ago, I can't wait to try it!

Formerly-Corn in My Coffee Pot said...

Brin-

Looks absolutely YUMMIE.

Good of you to share first with the Co-workers; then with us.

take care now

Jeanette said...

I love shortbread and strawberry jam!
Yummy. Be sure and let us know when you begin writing for AOL...looking forward to reading. Jeanette

Grace =) said...

that is so pretty, I would almost not want to eat it. I'd just want to look at it and smell it!

:) funny thing, my word verification for this comment is binge...so appropriate for this post about yummy food! lol.

Fearless Nester said...

Can't wait for that recipe! I made your lemon balm shortbread recipe twice already, so I know I'm gonna love this one too! Oh and here's a link to a post I did on it where I linked back to your site: http://fearlessnesting.blogspot.com/2009/07/what-can-you-make-with-lemon-balm.html Thanks Brin! ~Lili

As Told By Molly said...

I have never had much luck with shortbread, but I am an old pro with jam. That picture is so tempting I think I'll test my luck when the recipe appears.

Michelle said...

Oh that looks divine! Just the color looks divine!!

Vee said...

Looks wonderful! (I understand your caution.)

Rebecca said...

Looks divine! Don't worry sweet friend, you'll know when the time is right. Meanwhile your lucky co workers get to enjoy the fruits from your heart!

Sixteen Chickens said...

Pampered Chef stoneware, man, I love that stuff. Nothing is better than homemade strawberry jam, nothing.

Girly Muse said...

Aw, you killed me with this: I wanted to send it to him but couldn't.

Sniff. And proud of you for NOT sending it.

Cathy said...

Girl! He doesnt deserve your shortbread! : ) Thanks for sharing. It is beautiful and I love making shortbread. Recipe soon! Thanks!!

Kristie said...

Brin, this looks and sounds scrumptious!! Can't wait to try it.

betty r said...

This looks amazing..I too loved the strawberry bread recipe you shared some time ago and I think it's time I made that again.