April 14, 2010: Riesling Shortbread

DISCLAIMER: This recipe is not vegan. It is from the days when I was a vegetarian! I don't want to remove old posts, but I don't eat this way anymore : ) 


Wednesday is becoming my blog cooking day. I work about 6 days a week at the restaurant, and when I get home and cook, the lighting is too bad for me to want to take pictures of my creations. I've got an East facing kitchen, so the mornings are glorious!
This morning, I took a little trip to Pathmark, the normal grocery store, and picked up some essentials, sweet potatoes, onions, chipotle sauce, etc... When I got back to my apartment, I was compelled to pick up Heidi Swanson's cookbook, "Super Natural Cooking".  I started leafing through the pages for the 100th time, and stopped when I saw her "Ginger-Amaranth Shortbread"; and I knew in that moment what I'd be doing for the next couple hours.




I learned from Heidi's cookbook that Amaranth is an uber-healthy grain, though it is really a seed from an herb.  It's packed with protein and lysine, and supposedly "has a texture that pops in the mouth".  I've never tried it, though I am meaning to.  With that said, I didn't make Ginger-Amaranth Shortbread. I thought Shortbread baking would be a good time to use my second variety of Grapeseed Flour, Riesling.
The recipe is completely inspired by Heidi's, but quite different because I have a feeling Grapeseed Flour and Amaranth have very little in common.  Still, my Shortbread turned out pretty good.  I added Ginger, both powdered and crystallized, and felt inspired to add a dash of my Rancho Gordo Vanilla.  I should have used less Sea Salt because all I had on hand was salted butter. Unfortunately, I just realized this, and think I notice the difference.

The Riesling flour certainly stands out amongst the other flavors.  Like the Merlot flour used in my Graham Crackers, the Riesling lends an almost Cocoa undertone to the Shortbread. Which is interesting because I figured it would have more of a fruity flavor... next time I'll try it in pancakes.

Tonight I have my Shakespeare class, and I'm going to bring these treats for my classmates.  I'm performing, so maybe they'll think I'm trying to buy their kind and gentle judgment of my work...Nah! I wouldn't do such a thing ;-)

Which reminds me, I need to be preparing for class!
I'll, of course, leave you with the recipe, and hope you'll try it soon.  Wish me a broken leg, and happy peers!



Riesling Shortbread
(adapted from a recipe Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Cooking")
makes 2 dozen 1 inch squares

1 1/2 cups White Whole-Wheat Flour (+1/2 just in case you need it to thicken up dough)
1/2 cup Riesling Grapeseed Flour (any other fancy flour should work too) 
3/4 Tsp Fine-grain Sea Salt
1 Tsp Ground Ginger

1 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2/3 Cup Natural Cane Sugar
1/3 Cup Minced Crystallized Ginger

In a small/medium bowl, combine flours, salt, and ground ginger. Whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and mix again, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined and crumbly (at this point I had to add more flour, 1/2 cup, because my mixture was far from "crumbly"). Stir in crystallized ginger by hand and turn dough out onto a floured work surface.  Kneed the dough just once or twice to bring it together, then gather it into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface.  Cut into whatever shapes you desire, (Heidi used a beautiful cookie stamp for her's, which I do not have, so I made designs on my little squares using my mini spatula*), place on the prepared baking sheet.  
Freeze for 20 minutes, then bake for about 20 minutes, or until shortbread begins to brown on the bottom. 




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