Recipe courtesy of Nan Kohler of Grist & Toll…
I love shortbread cookies. It’s amazing how much more I love them now that I can make them with freshly milled flour. The flavors of fresh, whole grain flour really shine when there aren’t a lot of competing flavors and ingredients in the mix. This really rings true in the recipe below. These cookies were the first to be baked and shared from flour I had milled myself and it marked a turning point in my confidence as an aspiring food entrepreneur.
Something magical happens when you replace the normal refined flour with fresh whole grains. The butter tastes more butter-y, the hint of salt has a little more sparkle, and the whole cookie takes on a new level of toasty, nutty goodness.
…Be prepared to witness simplicity at its finest.
1 cup Sonora Whole Grain Flour (4.5 oz)
1 cup Hard Red Whole Grain Flour (4.5 oz), such as Triple IV
½ cup cornstarch (2.5 )
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup superfine sugar (2.75 oz)
2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla, or seeds of one fresh vanilla bean
Extra sugar for sprinkling, optional
Melted chocolate for dipping, optional
Fleur de sel for sprinkling, optional
Preheat the oven to 325º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together both flours and cornstarch.
In the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla or vanilla bean seeds. You only need to mix long enough that the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture starts to look a little fluffy.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets. Gather dough scraps, gently press together (do not knead), and roll out again to cut more cookies. A 2½-inch cookie cutter should yield about 24 cookies. If desired, lightly sprinkle tops of cookies with additional sugar before baking.
Place baking sheets in oven and bake shortbread until nicely set and edges are golden brown, approximately 12-18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets just for a couple of minutes. The shortbread is delicate and this will help you transfer them to cooling racks without breakage. Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
*We like to dip the corners of our shortbread in chocolate and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. Tempering the chocolate will help it set up and keep it from looking dull and cloudy.
Editor’s Note: Here’s an easy explanation and instructions for tempering chocolate (which keeps the cocoa fat from rising to the surface and causing an unattractive dull white sheen). DavidLebovitz.com.
Grist & Toll: Small Batch, Whole-Grain Milled Fresh Local Flour. 990 S. Arroyo Parkway, #1, Pasadena 91105. Hours: Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 626.441.7400. GristandToll.com.
The inaugural class for their bread baking series is Sunday, April 13th.