This week I am busy getting ready for our big Birthday Baptism Bash. Next week we celebrate my birthday, my sons birthday and my daughters baptism. We will have all of our extended family visiting so needless to day there will be lots of food and a pretty full house. With so many festivities and people to feed. I do my best to keep things tasty and simple. We don’t get to see my husbands side of the family very often as they are all out of state. When they are in town I like to spend as much with with them not be busy in the kitchen.
Over the years I have become a master planner and skilled at keeping my freezer stocked with lots of easy make ahead items. The advance prep allows me to relax with guests and still feed them well. Today I share one of my all time make ahead favorites. There is no better treat than easy homemade shortbread. This recipe is super simple. You just mix all the ingredients together, press into the pan and bake.
It is also wonderful because you can play with it and make many different and unique flavor combinations like Chocolate Cayenne, Orange Pistachio or Lemon Lavender like I did for my party. The easy homemade shortbread has a soft and delicate crumb and sweet yet rich buttery taste. Best part this tender shortbread is surprisingly transportable and the texture actually improves the next day making it in ideal treat for any gathering. You can even make it far in advance and freeze it so you have it onhand to welcome any last minute guests. It pairs perfectly with coffee, tea and even wine.
Easy Homemade Shortbread, Lemon Lavender and More
Tender and delicate with rich flavor that will leave the house warm and smelling of butter.
1 cup unsalted cold butter (2 sticks cut into ½ in cubes)
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325
Line a 9in square, round or spring form pan with parchment paper
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine all ingredients. Starting at low speed mix for several minutes until mixture resembles a course meal with slightly damp crumbs but will hold together when pinched.
Pour crumb mixture into prepared pan and press firmly with a small juice glass or the back of a spoon tamping the crumb mixture together.
Sprinkle with extra teaspoon of sugar if desired.
Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until very light golden Cool in pan for 30 minutes, carefully run a butter knife along the side of the pan to loosen from edges and carefully invert to remove from pan. While still warm cut into desired shapes using a large knife and smooth downward cuts.
Add zest of one lemon, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons food grade lavender
Mix in 1 cup chocolate chips before pressing into the pan. Option for chocolate coating, spread 1 cup chocolate chips over top while it is hot allow to melt and smooth over surface.
Decrease the flour to 1 ¼ cups and substitute ¼ cup coco powder. Mix in 1 teaspoon espresso powder and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Add the zest of one orange and ½ cup finely chopped pistachios
Butterscotch version 1:
Mix in 1 cup butterscotch chips before pressing into the pan.
Butterscotch version 2:
Substitute brown sugar for white sugar continue with recipe press into pan and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon coarse salt in place of sugar. For an upscale touch try pink Hawaiian salt.