Where do I begin? I’m looking at it right now… my last post dates from February 9, 2020, and it is almost September now. I’ve never been the most prolific blogger but a break this long is unusual. I kinda want to blame the pandemic but that would be just an excuse because what better time to spend working on my computer when I’ve been pretty much stuck here at home 24/7 right like the rest of us? 🙂 Truth is, I got into a creative rut and a pretty bad one and the thought of posting content for the sake of posting content simply makes me yawn and go back to staring at the walls, contemplating the thought of wearing that stupid mask just to go get some eggs. Needless to say, I hope everyone is staying safe, wearing your mask (as stupid as it might seem) and practicing social distancing, etc. This will be over…eventually, but for now, I guess it’s nature’s turn to get a little break from us.
Enough corona talk… we’re here for the food and as you can see from the pics, it’s all about cookies this time. My blog is better known for bloody medium-rare steaks and sous vide concoctions but not today! I promised my friend Jessica @ embossed that I would review their beautiful 3D-carved rolling pin and test it out. I tried to come up with a savory application but ended up surrendering to the mighty shortbread cookie, because who doesn’t love shortbread, and even though the beginnings of this blog were bake-intensive, cookies have only been featured once before so this is kind of a big deal!
I will admit that I don’t even own a regular rolling pin. I have no idea what happened to my last one… I keep moving places and lots of my cooking gear ends up who knows where. I had to basically “roll out” each cookie individually using a small cutting board to flatten it and then imprinting the cool design by rolling my embossed pin over each once. Good times.
If you do your prep (mise en place) this recipe should be extremely easy. I have adapted a shortbread dough recipe from the amazing baking cookbook Bouchon by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxele. Make sure you have a stand or hand mixer. Here we go.
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 cardamom pods (ground in a spice blender) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (optional)
2 tablespoon granulated sugar for dusting
Cream that butter!
Add the butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low. The butter will get creamier and more malleable. Use a spatula to make scrape the walls of the bowl and make sure everything gets mixed.
Fluff it up with sugar!
Add the sugar, salt, and spices, and mix on medium-low speed until the butter becomes fluffy. You’ll know it when you see it. Use a spatula to make scrape the walls of the bowl and make sure everything gets mixed.
Add the flour in 2 steps!
Lower the speed to low and add one cup of flour. Mix for about 30 seconds and add the second cup of flour and mix for another 30 seconds or until well incorporated. Use a spatula to make scrape the walls of the bowl and make sure everything gets mixed. The dough mix will look like wet sand.
Chill the dough!
Place the content of the bowl on a work surface and work the mixture into a dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Roll it out!
Preheat your oven to 350F (325F if you have a convection oven). Roll out the dough until you have a dough sheet of about 1/4 inch thick. Dust the dough with a generous dusting of sugar.
Emboss your cookies!
Time to bring out that awesome embossed rolling pin! You will need to roll the pin only once over the dough so make sure you apply moderate pressure so that the design is well impressed. You can dust the pin with flour to prevent any sticky business. Use the cookie cutter of your liking and place the cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.
By now your oven is evenly preheated and you’re good to go. Get your cookies out of the freezer and throw them in the oven. Bake until pale golden brown. About 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 30 minutes.
Got comments, suggestions? I love those so please leave them in the comment section. Stay safe and stay tuned. Sign up to my newsletter to never miss a post!
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Wow! These photos are outstanding! Not a surprise, of course. It’s funny where my mind goes, when you wrote “for the sake of” i thought you were talking about saké! Anyway, nice to have you back. Glad you still have a job. Yes, wear the damn mask.
hahahl maybe we can come up with a sake shortbread recipe 🙂 Thank you Mimi! yeah, work has been pretty nuts for the past 2 months after months and month of quiet. Hope you’re doing well and staying safe ❤️