Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tiny Taste Treats: Mini-Shortbread Bites

I love my tea: bagged, loose, black, green, white, anything except fruit-flavored. I love my teapots, of which I have many—gifts from friends and family, as well as hand me downs from my mother and grandmothers. And I love to have treats with my tea, so when I saw a recipe for mini-shortbread bites, I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment.

What I really liked about this recipe is that it takes about 5 minutes to make and 15 minutes to bake, and it lends itself to all sorts of flavors. If a friend called and asked to drop by, these could be out of the oven by the time she got to my house. If you need a last-minute item for an office party or child’s classroom, this would work well. They are easy to transport, and suit most everyone’s tastes. The original recipe called for dried blueberries. Since I didn’t have any, I substituted dried cranberries. But you could use any dried fruit (diced apricots and crystallized ginger would make a good combo), mini chocolate chips (kinda like bacon – they go well with everything), chopped nuts (toasted pecans would be my choice), or just leave them plain. If you root around in your pantry, I’m sure you can come up with some interesting combinations…and it will be so worth it.

Made in mini-muffin tins, they remind me of friands but have the consistency of shortbread. Buttery, sweet, with a small crumb. Treat yourself to an afternoon respite with a plate of these baby bites and a pot of tea and forget about the laundry, the report you have due, and bills that need to be paid.

Shortbread Bites
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup dried blueberries (See substitution options above)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt and zest. Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour mixture, pulsing until a fine crumb forms. Add in dried blueberries. Press 2 tablespoons mixture into 36 mini-muffin cups. (I found that a small ice cream scoop yielded the correct amount, which I then tamped down with my fingers.)

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

NOTE: the high amount of butter in this recipe means the dough should not stick to your pan. I had no problems whatsoever, but if you are concerned, you can grease or spray your pans ahead of time.

No comments: