Shortbread traditionally has always been a Scottish biscuit, the 'Short' is indicative of shortening or the fat used in making these delicious & calorie rich treats.
Personally, I love making these since they do not involve the use of egg ( Don't get me wrong, I'm fascinated by these protein packed globes that pop out from a hen's rear end, but have this odd avoidance/ phobia about working with them.. It had something to do with a mildly traumatic incident involving my 8th birthday cake, a broken window... Someday If I write my biography, I'll tell the tale!)
Food52 my favorite community blog, had this contest with coffee as the theme ingredient last week. & the number of fabulous recipes that were sent in was simply amazing! The enthusiasm itself was worth creating a tribute dish for & the 4C shortbread was my contribution! The Inspiration came from 3 individuals and the dishes they had submitted for the contest. Bevi, a food consultant from Vermont who had a fabulous recipe for a versatile shortbread with many options, Tiggybee from California with a fabulous recipe for a spiced Iced coffee and Pauljoseph from Kerala, who is an amazing source for wonderful recipes & morsels of amazing trivia related to food. You simply HAVE to check this wonderful site out! Something that everyone on food52 looks forward to, is Pauljosephs photographs of spices, herbs, fruit & veggies we so much take for granted in daily life, yet, know little of about how they look in their native habitat.
The spices and flavorings used in this recipe are are found in God's own country, Kerala, Cardamom, cloves, coffee & Cream... it seemed fitting that these four terms should come together to form the '4C' (which incidentally, is also a term used to describe quality in Diamonds! speaking of Diamonds... here's a lovely ad for those shiny bits of coal... Disclaimer: Tanishq is NOT involved in Iyer n'chef!). The bonus is that my kitchen started smelling like I was brewing a cauldron of rich creamy coffee, that alone was enough for a wonderful buzz!!
For this ridiculously easy snack you need:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules (taster's choice french roast worked for me)
- 6 pods cardamom,
- 4 cloves
- 2 tablespoons light cream
- 1 1/4 cup All purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt
- Using a mortar & pestle, crush the cloves, cardamom seeds & the coffee granules to a smooth powder.
- Cream the butter & sugar till well combined. add the spiced coffee powder & cream, whisk a little longer till light & fluffy.
- Sift the all purpose flour and the salt. fold the flour into the creamed butter and work till the flour is incorporated completely and the mixture comes together into a ball. wrap in plastic wrap & chill for an hour in the refrigerator
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness (using extra flour for dusting). Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough and place onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake for ~ 10 minutes or until the lower surface of the cookies starts turning a golden brown. remove & cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight jar.
- Serve alongside a hot cup of.....tea or hot chocolate!!