Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oscar Day 2006!

Although chocolate is my first love, I had a hankering for something a little different for Oscar Day. Yes, Oscar day is a big event around here – well for me anyway. I have possession of the clicker for the entire day – and woe be to the one who changes the channel when I am making a potty run! The day is mine and I always whip up something special just for me.

I had spotted this recipe on The Wednesday Chef and, since I also love Nigella I thought I would give it a go. As promised the recipe came together tout suite, and the smell…heavenly! I peered through the oven window like Johnny Bench waiting for the game winning pitch in the World Series. Waiting patiently for that “barely colored” surface to reveal itself. And there it was, 32 minutes later, the lightly golden edges and matte finish – time to remove the pan from the oven. I whipped up the icing and doused the shortbread as directed. As you can see the out come was a beautiful thing…but. Well, I wasn’t happy with the texture. The taste was lovely and spicy, but a little doughy. I was hoping for that tender sandiness of old world short bread. The edges were there but closer to the middle the doughyness came through more than I would have liked. Should I have cooked them longer? I think yes, at the risk of a dryer edge. The icing though lovely and fragrant was just a little too rich and never quite set; I think I would add a bit less butter and some water next time. Will there be a next time? Oh yes, I think that perhaps operator error may have been the problem. Who am I to question the Domestic Goddess!

Cinnamon Squares

Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling

For the base:
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ pound (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small cubes
Pinch salt (I couldn’t help myself)

For the icing:
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cane syrup like Lyle's Golden Syrup (or substitute dark corn syrup)
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Prepare base: heat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, combine confectioners' sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Pulse until free of lumps. Scatter butter cubes across top and pulse again until mixture is crumbly and beginning to come together.
Press mixture evenly into a shallow 9- to 9½-inch square baking pan. (I used a 9 ½ inch fluted tart pan) Bake until shortbread is firm, barely colored and no longer has a sheen on its surface, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack until warm.
While shortbread cools, prepare icing: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and syrup together. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon until free of lumps. Remove from heat and allow to cool just until slightly thickened. Whisk again and pour over the warm shortbread, using a spatula to reach edges. Allow to cool completely, and then cut into 16 squares.
Yield: 16 squares.

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