I have to start this post by confessing that every single square, cookie and appetizer I made for Christmas this year came from Smitten Kitchen. I ordered her new cookbook in the Fall, it arrived in late October, and I’ve been staring at it every day since it arrived. I’ve already made the squash and caramelized onion galette 4 times. Heaven!
This shortbread comes from Epicurious via the Smitten Kitchen blog. What sets this recipe apart from other shortbreads is not the ingredients, but an interesting tweak to the process. Once the dough has come together, you freeze it, then grate half of it into the bottom of the pan, add a layer of raspberry jam, then grate the remaining dough on top. The result is a lighter, airier shortbread. I took Deb’s advice and added a good dose of lemon zest – I wouldn’t make it any other way.
Aside from being super tasty, this is a convenient recipe to make when you have lots on the go. You can make the dough well in advance, freeze it, then grate and bake it the day that you need it. Once baked, it will stay moist and soft and delicious for at least a week if you keep it at room temperature in an airtight container.
Note – the Epicurious recipe says that you can substitute 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of cocoa, producing a chocolate raspberry shortbread. If you go that route, leave out the lemon zest.
yields a 9×13 pan of deep squares
1 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
2 C sugar
4 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1-2 t lemon zest
1 C raspberry jam, at room temperature
1/4 C powdered sugar
Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the yolks and mix well.
Whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to the butter and egg yolk mixture. Mix just until the dough starts to come together, then turn out onto a floured surface and form into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic and freeze at least 2 hours. You can make this ahead and freeze it for up to a month.
When you’re ready to bake, get the oven heating to 350 F.
Take one ball of dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it – you can do this by hand on a box grater, but a food processor is much easier if you have one. Shake the shortbread flakes into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan, making sure to evenly distribute the flakes.
Spoon the jam into a piping bag with a wide tip or a zip-lock bag with a corner cut off. Squeeze the jam over the surface as evenly as possible, leaving a 1/2 inch border. I squeezed out the jam in a tight zigzag pattern, then used a butter knife to lightly spread it and fill in the gaps. Remove the remaining dough from the freezer, coarsely grate it and shake evenly over the entire surface.
Bake until lightly golden and the center no longer wiggles. This took just shy of 50 minutes for me, though the original recipe said it could take up to 60 minutes. I suggest checking it at 45 minutes, check the edges for browning and decide how close you are. As soon as you take it out of the oven, dust with the powdered sugar and let cool.
Note – leave this whole until you’re ready to serve. The shortbread will last longer as one solid piece than it will cut into little squares.