TWD: Baking with Julia- Hungarian Shortbread

Hooray for Tuesday, especially a baking Tuesday. Today’s recipe: Hungarian Shortbread…which is really not like English shortbread at all. (Sorry, Kristin.)

It was also a teething Tuesday for The Belle, a tired Tuesday for me (as it came on the heels of teething Sunday and Monday and Monday night), and a tantrum Tuesday for The Boy.

There was a period of time this afternoon when all three little ones were sleeping, and although I wanted to collapse, I baked instead.

The results were delicious. Really, really yummy. Of course, there is a pound of butter in there, and nearly 2 cups of sugar (I used a little less than the recipe called for), and 2 jars of homemade apricot jam from my grandmother. How could it not be good?

The preparation of this shortbread is unusual, I think…the dough came together easily in the stand mixer (which is not consistent with my previous experiences of shortbread dough but was a welcome blessing). The dough is then divided into two balls and put into the freezer for 30 minutes. One ball of chilled dough is grated with a box grater into a 9×13 pan, topped with the filling, and then the second ball of dough is grated on top. The whole thing bakes for 40 minutes and is then topped with confectioner’s sugar.

Based on the experiences of some of the other bakers (who reported the shortbread was doughy and undercooked using this method), I prebaked the bottom layer for 10 minutes before adding the filling and the top layer. It was a good decision – it all came out very well. Nicely golden brown on top, baked all the way through. Topped with powdered sugar. Cooled to room temperature.

(Oh, who am I kidding? We cut into it while it was still warm. It was 10 pm- we couldn’t wait any more.)

The only trouble I had with this recipe is that the finished product looks a little like lemon bars. So much like lemon bars, in fact, that I keep expecting them to taste like lemon bars. Had I not been eating the leftover lemon curd from the last TWD recipe by the spoonful, I might have had enough to use that for the filling. Then they would have really been lemon bars…and they would have been truly awesome.

Even so, they are very tasty with the apricot jam. Below, please enjoy some hastily taken pictures.

(Other items on the table include 2 1/2 sippy cups (what happened to the lid?), a teething ring, a baby doll that was being used as a teething ring, 2 recently pink napkins (formerly white, but accidentally washed last week with the red tablecloth), tissue paper roses left from last Monday’s St George’s Day feast, a bottle of caffeine free Diet Coke, and a stack of catalogs with some partially filled-out forms on top and a thank-you note to my Aunt Carolyn with pictures of the children that needs a stamp before I can mail it.)

It has just been that kind of day, so I’m going to call it over and done with now.

Check out our hosts’ beautiful shortbread at 1 Small Kitchen and the not so exciting adventures of a dabbler.

If you’re local, come sample the shortbread. There’s a lot of it. I’m happy to share. Any time after 12 on Wednesday is fine!

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