I have a terrible weakness for the rich, buttery taste of good shortbread, most recently, for Almond Shortbread. I taught Sunday School for years and each Christmas, the Mom of one of the families in the church made each teacher a lovely little shortbread cake. They were about 6 inches across with golden edges and little holes all over the top. Once all 3 of that family’s kids had gone through my 1st and 2nd grade class, I just happened to move into the Junior High class, which meant I got to enjoy 3 more Christmases with Darcy’s yummy shortbread.
And even though I was the Superintendent, and in charge of assigning teachers to classes, I’m sure her shortbread had no influence on what class I taught – that just wouldn’t be right, now would it? I preferred to think of it as divine intervention.
I rarely make shortbread myself – not because it’s difficult, but rather because it is too easy, and way too fattening. I ran across a mention of using almond flour in cookies, and I thought that it might be good in shortbread too. It turned out to be a very good idea. Can you blame me if I ended up making 4 batches, to get it “perfected”? I have to make such sacrifices for you guys, you know?
In any case, shortbread is very easy to make, and if you have a stand mixer, it is easier yet. I like to make it in a tart pan, and mine is 11 inches across – this one,from Fat Daddio. If you don’t have a tart pan, you could use a couple of 8 or 9 inch pie plates, though the cakes will be a little thinner and will be done about 5 minutes earlier than the time I give below.
Almond flour is pretty widely available in grocery and health food stores, but if you can’t find near you, this kind from Amazon is nice. I keep almond – and all nut flours – in the freezer because they tend to go rancid pretty quickly, and the freezer keeps them nice and fresh. As for the sliced almonds, I like to buy hem in bulk because they are cheaper that way, and these Mariani Sliced Premium Almonds are always good.
- ¾ cup soft butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon raw or sanding sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the tart pan well.
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
- Add the flour, almond flour, corn starch and salt, and mix just until well incorporated.
- Pat evenly into the tart pan - if the dough is sticking to your fingers, wet them.
- Spread the almonds over the top and press in lightly.
- Use a fork or chopstick to make holes a couple inches apart all over the top. Sprinkle on the sugar.
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and browned.
- Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes and remove carefully from the pan.
- Cut into wedges to serve. Store tightly covered for up to a week at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator.
Once it is ready to eat, you will be faced with a terrible dilemma – do you keep it all for yourself, or give it away for gifts, as you had planned? There is only one solution to that though – you are going to have to make more!
note: this post contains one or more Amazon affiliate links and I make a small commission on your purchase.