Apron Optional: Shortbread

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The shape and firmness of shortbread make it an easy snack to wrap up and send to friends and family. This simple, five-ingredient recipe can have warm shortbread ready in a little over half an hour.
The shape and firmness of shortbread make it an easy snack to wrap up and send to friends and family. This simple, five-ingredient recipe can have warm shortbread ready in a little over half an hour.

Where to begin? This week has been chaotic.

I’ve been in the hectic process of moving out of my apartment. I am always equal parts amazed and disgusted by the sheer magnitude of stuff I am able to cram into my apartment. It’s insane, really.

What’s the plus side to all of this madness you may ask? I will be spending the next week in Paris with my family. I’m ecstatic just thinking about the art and food — I can’t decide which is more exciting. Since we are staying in an apartment next week, I will actually be cooking for you from France — in my French kitchen!

Because of all this hustle and bustle, I wanted to make something relatively simple that would also serve as a good travel snack (I think I build up the drive to Houston in my head as some grand excursion and prepare as such).

Although I make desserts a lot, I’m don’t really have a huge sweet tooth. With the exception of a few things, I never really ‘crave’ dessert (don’t think that stops me from eating them often).

One thing I can’t resist is a good piece of shortbread. The crunchy, crumbly texture is almost as addicting as the rich, buttery flavor. It’s one of those things that tastes so perfect in its simplicity. Really, the only flaw in shortbread is me — I could polish off a whole tin of it in one sitting if I’m not careful.

Shortbread is relatively easy to make, and it comes out consistently well. But I am convinced that the more carefully you follow the recipe, the better they come out. Sometimes the simpler something is, the more noticeable the quality can be.

You can make your cookies in a round pan and cut them into triangles, kind of like pizza slices. Or, you can do what I prefer and make rectangular bars. Really, they can be any shape you like (I almost considered longhorn-shaped cookies!). But the smaller they are, the better they pack without breaking.

Packablility is something to consider, primarily if you’re giving your shortbread to someone. The cookie itself travels well and could easily be sent to a friend far away or delivered to that lucky son of a gun nearby. I mean what a great gift, right? FYI: I’m always registered for shortbread gifts.

Now I know this isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea, but the other great thing about shortbread is its incredible dipping ability. My personal dunking (or spreading, if you’re fancy) favorites are Nutella and jam, such as strawberry or red/black current.

I used a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com because it was simple (it only has three ingredients!), but I added 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla and a pinch of kosher salt to enhance the flavor. In this case, the vanilla doesn’t so much alter the flavor as it enhances the buttery taste — and who doesn’t want that?

Until next week, au revoir! (I should really learn how to say something else in French before I get there...)