I do not like baking that much. I think it is because of the restrictions imposed by working with exact measures and quantities. Not being able to improvise in the kitchen kills my mojo a bit, I need to feel free to add or subtract a little of this or a little of that, and I need to be able to do it whenever I feel like. When it comes to baking, the whole Farmer’s Philosophy that “The Scale Is In The Hand” does not really apply much! But I have kids, and they expect me to bake, they demand cookies, they don’t care witnessing their father succumbing to childish rants when a recipe fails: “Babbo, don’t worry, you can try again, we’ll help”!
Recently Evelina got into coffee. She is 11 years old going 20 and she started smelling emancipation and a little more freedom in the things of daily life: she runs errands on the avenue, hangs with kids on the stoop, and started requesting me to cook new things for her quickly growing discerning palate. We did some math together and came out with the idea of making cookies with her new favorite ingredient, coffee. We agreed that she could choose the flavor and I would choose the base dough for it: a nice buttery shortbread with a hint of salt.
Here is the result, a luxurious Coffee Shortbread that works well basically at any moment of the day, from a breakfast treat to a great accompaniment to your after dinner shot of Rum. Enjoy!
Yields: 40 cookies / Prep Time: 20 minutes / Inactive Time: 40 minutes / Cooking Time: 1 hour
- 2 Cups of Flour
2 tablespoons Ground Coffee
- 1 Cup of butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 Cup of sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- Zest of 1 orange
- Pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar, for garnishing
- 9”x 6” Square baking pan
- Kitchen mixer with paddle attachment
- Aluminum Foil
1 In a medium size bowl mix together flour, coffee, orange zest and salt.
2 On a cutting board slice the vanilla pod and removed its beans.
3 In the standing mixer at medium speed, melt together butter, sugar and vanilla beans until a soft and smooth cream is formed.
4 Reduce the speed of the mixer at a minimum and slowly add the mixture of flour and coffee until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Make sure not to over-work the dough during this step.
5 Line the baking pan tightly with aluminum foil and pour the dough in it, then a soft spatula dipped in cold water to spread it evenly, rinse the spatula if it start sticking to the batter. Place in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
6 Pre heat the oven at 300 Fº, place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 50 minutes.
7 Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes, then using a knife or a pizza slicer, cut into bite size squares and move pieces onto a baking sheet, making sure that cookies do not touch each other.
8 Bake again at 300Fº for 10 minutes, let cool off then garnish with powdered sugar and serve.