Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Piped Shortbread

Imagine the morning dew as it sparkles icily on the still-monochrome blades of grass. Imagine the morning mist as it meanders through the trees, its vapourous twirls curling themselves around the pines' needles like coffee steam around the nose. Imagine the clouds of morning that rise from the ground, rise above the trees and lodge themselves in the sky for just a moment before vanishing to another horizon. Imagine the cup of coffee that stands on a saucer in front of the window overlooking the grass and the trees and the sky. Imagine all of this, and imagine the house that is sprawled behind the cup; its pinewood walls, its white furniture, its worn couch, its diaphanous curtains and its silky bedcovers that conceal a grumpy dragon. He is already awake but reluctant to forsake the foetal snugness of his bed. The sun is shining bleakly from the window, and Celestial Dragon is squinting his eyes at it. He can discern, beyond the clouds, beyond the sky and beyond the stars, the shape of something good. Then his nostrils awake too. They twitch, like Small Perfect Cloud's, and Celestial Dragon is made aware of another world. One that does not lie beyond the stars, but beyond the kitchen door. He overcomes his incorrigible reluctance and gets out of bed. He puts on his night-blue morning bathrobe and makes his way through the home. He passes the curtains, the couch. He walks past the pinewood walls and does not even see the white furniture.
He opens the kitchen door. The great window is still there, still showing the same meadow and trees and clouds. The coffee cup is there also, and the saucer too. Behind the coffee cup, seated on a chair with her back to the door is Divine Cherry. In front of her, next to the cup, is a small plate with visibly fresh shortbreads. Celestial Dragon looks furtively at the kitchen. He sees the open oven and feels its warmth radiating through the room. He sees the wire rack on which a few crumbs still cling to the bars. Divine Cherry turns around and smiles at him. Celestial Dragon pours himself a cup of coffee and walks to the table. He sits down on the chair next to Divine Cherry and smiles back at her.

This recipe participates to the November Daring Bakers challenge.

Blog-checking lines: Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

Piped shortbreads - Adapted from a Pierre Hermé recipe
- 260g flour
- 30 g cornflour
- 250 g soft butter
- 100 g icing sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 egg whites
Preheat the oven at 180 C. Mix the flour and cornflour in a bowl. Whisk the butter in a second bowl using an electric whisk until it is very fluffy. Add the icing sugar to the butter and whisk until smooth, do not overwork.  Beat lightly the egg whites and add them to the butter mix. Beat everything until just well combined and smooth. Stir in the flour and cornflour until smooth but do not overmix the batter.
Pour the batter in a  piping bag and form 5 cm long lines on a tray lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 min.
Let the shortbread cool and when cold dip them in melted chocolate.

Piped Shortbread from Peta's recipe, that you can find here.

1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) softened butter
1¼ cups (175 gm) (6 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (65 gm) (2- 2/3 oz) confectioners' sugar
¼ cup (45 gm) (1½ oz) cornflour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla essence
Nuts, chocolate chips, maraschino cherries
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 300°F/ 150°C/gas mark 2
2. Combine butter, flours, vanilla and confectioner's sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater. Mix on low speed until combined and then change to the whisk beater.
3. Beat for 10 minutes.
4. Pipe into rings or lines.
5. Decorate with maraschino cherry pieces to look like little wreaths or leave plain.
6. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.
7. Cool completely and drizzle with melted chocolate or icing (frosting) if you want to.

Ricetta in italiano:
 Sablés montati - da una ricetta di Pierre Hermé
- 260 g farina
- 30 g maizena
- 250 g burro morbido
- 100 g zucchero a velo
- 1 pizzico di sale
- 2 bianchi d'uovo

Riscaldare il forno a 180C. In una ciotola mescolare la farina e la maizena. In un'altra ciotola montare il burro con le fruste elettriche fino a che risulta cremoso e molto morbido. Aggiungere lo zucchero a velo e continuare a sbattere finchè il composto risulta omogeneo, ma senza eccedere con l'uso delle fruste. Sbattere a parte i bianchi d'uovo senza montarli troppo e poi aggiungerli alla preparazione di burro. Sbattere con le fruste elettriche fino ad incorporare bene gli albumi. Aggiungere la farina e maizena. Mescolare bene per evitare la formazione di grumi. E' importante che la preparazione sia omogenea, ma senza lavorare troppo l'impasto.
Versare il composto in una tasca da pasticceria con beccuccio smerlato e creare tanti bastoncini lunghi 5 cm circa ben distanziati tra loro su una teglia rivestita di carta da forno.
Infornare per 10-12 minuti circa.
Quando i biscotti sono freddi si possono intengere le estremità nel cioccolato fuso.


  1. Your shortbread turned out perfectly! I shaped mine exactly like yours but the cookies broke up when I took them off the baking sheet :(

    1. It happened to me as well using the recipe provided in the challenge. But Pierre Hermé does not fail... ;)