Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cardamom Shortbread

"Nika," my cousin Harper begins, "You are so obsessed with cardamom!" I cannot deny the accusation. I put cardamom in nearly everything (as sparingly as I can though because it's a bit pricy). I've put cardamom in ice cream, macarons, strawberry meringue tarts, chocolate ganache, lassis, and most recently shortbread, and I won't apologize for any of it.
I even warmed up some milk and put a dash of cardamom in. It's not just an accessory that spices up a relatively plain base, it's an integral part of the dish and completely transforms your experience.
I hosted a small gathering for the student newspaper that I've been editor-in-chief of for the past two years yesterday, and lured the journalists there with the promise of not only pizza but a homemade runcible spoon dessert. But when I woke up that morning and discovered that I had 1 hour to make something with whatever I had in the house, I realized that I was probably better suited buying some pastries on my way there and pretending that I had made them the previous night.
Instead of deceiving my guests though, honest as I am, I found Tea and Sympathy's recipe for shortbread, which required flour, sugar and butter (all of which I owned). A thought popped into my head the minute I realized that I could successfully whip up this shortbread in a matter of 40 minutes: cardamom. To begin, I creamed 1 cup of butter and then added 1/2 cup of sugar.
Finally, I added 3 cups of flour and then I stopped the mixer, added 1 tsp of cardamom and kneaded the very dry dough until the ingredients were fully incorporated. I took out my trusty ceramic rolling pin, and flattened the shortbread until it was about 1/4 inch thick and then cut the dough into small rectangles and poked the surfaces with a fork.
I had previously set my oven to 300 F and buttered a tin, and I then put the cookies in for 20ish minutes at that temperature. Since I was in a hurry, I increased the oven temperature to 350 F for the last ten minutes. They were slightly overdone, but it didn't seem to affect the flavor (of the one I tasted before my guests consumed the rest in a fit of gustatory madness). It's a serious condition that I seem to facilitate often.
The shortbread brought people from far and wide (meaning students not involved with the paper) to the classroom we were occupying, searching for the cardamom shortbread whose smell permeated the halls. Now that school is over, I promise to post more frequently and cook more savory meals (for the sake of variety and my health), but I also assure you that I will continue to use cardamom and will find a way to incorporate into unthinkable dishes.

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