Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Macadamia Shortbread

"I'm not a cook...I'm not a cook...", chants Robin Williams in my favorite film of all times, Mrs Doubtfire as he/she places a perfectly cooked lobster on a platter.

In many ways, I relate to shim: I'm not a great cook but I've had some success in certain areas, particularly baking.

I know many kinda freak out at the idea of baking cos' you need the equiptment and tools, but if you're interested enough in baking but lack the tools, it's best to start with cookies cos' for most cookies, all you need is a spatula and a big bowl.

Macadamia shortbread.

Arnott's makes wonderful ones but are so expensive and stingy with the amount of biscuits in the box.

So why not make your own?

Contrary to popular belief, it's not expensive because you only need 75g of macadamias (which is really nothing).

(note: The picture above is not the macadamia cookies I made but it should look something like that)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes per tray

The Baker's Toolbox:

Baking tray
Large bowl
Electric mixer
Rolling pin (optional)
Baking paper
Cookie cutter

The Baker's Pantry:

250g butter (chopped)
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) rice flour
1/2 cup (75g) finely chopped macadamias
2 tablespoons caster sugar (extras)

Flour Up To My Elbows:

1. Preheat oven to moderately slow (140 to 160 degrees; depending on how hot your oven gets).

2. Beat butter, sugar and extract in a big bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift flours and nuts in TWO batches, stirring ingrediants well with a spatula after each batch.

4. Press ingrediants together.

5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, taking care not to over-knead.

6. Divide mixture into 2 portions. Roll and flatten each portion between 2 sheets of baking paper, using a rolling pin if necessary.

7. Using a cookie cutter, cut through the mixture and place on lightly greased baking trays.

8. Mark biscuits with a fork and sprinkle with extra sugar.

9. Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes (again depending on your oven) until the cookies turn yellowish/straw coloured.

10. Stand on tray for 10 minutes before trasferring to a wire rack to cool.

Baker's tips:

1. If you find it difficult to roll out the mixture, refridgerate the dough for awhile before moulding and cutting. Make sure you don't leave it too long in the fridge; just firm enough to be rolled out smoothly.

2. Be creative! Use any sort of cookie cutters.

3. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. The shortbreads can be frozen up to 3 months.

Serve with tea and enjoy the afternoon!


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nutzs said...

What is the difference between castor sugar and the normal sugar?

Anonymous said...

hey nuts - castor sugar is better for baking as it is superfine granules instead of being coarse.
it helps the sugar to dissolve virtually undetected when youre baking.
good for cakes, biscuits & muffins etc etc