So the first two days at my new job left me wanting to bang my head on the desk. The “training” was so painful I would have rather they just put me to work scrubbing dishes or hell even cleaning toilets!
Exibit A: A plate of eggs gets one slice of orange to garnish, but if it’s egg beaters it gets TWO slices of orange.
Really!? First of all why? And second, they only repeated it like 50 times so I think I will be incapable of ever serving egg beaters without two slices of orange from here on out in my life!
But it’s a job, and I’m grateful. A little whiny maybe, but grateful.
Since I was busy again today, I asked one of my favorite bloggers if she’d be willing to stop by. Valerie doesn’t know it, but her blog, une Gamine dans la Cuisine was the first blog that I subscribed to. She has this incredible style that can only be described as casual elegance. Her blog is warm and inviting and filled with such tempting treats as her latest Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting. I was blog smitten.
I lurked for a long time before I finally left a comment, and now I’m ever so gad that I did because look what she made for us!
Valerie: When a recipe calls for only one stick of butter, I don’t expect to be blown away by it, at least not completely. (Sugar is my wing-man if all else fails.)
When a recipe calls for Two sticks of butter, I get excited. In fact, I’ll sometimes hum the song “Iko Iko,” without even realizing that I’m humming. (I am not a hummer.)
Once in a while, a recipe will call for a whopping 4 sticks of butter. When that happens, things get ridiculous. At that point, it’s just better if everyone leaves the five of us alone while I bake.
This shortbread not only contains a massive amount of butter love, it also plays around with sprightly lemon zest and luscious raspberry jam. Spring, meet your muses.
If anyone deserves a rich, buttery, indulgent dessert, it’s Jennifer. If I lived nearby, I would bring her a batch of this shortbread, along with a few mojitos.
When Jennifer started leaving comments on my blog a few months ago, I could tell that she was actually reading my posts (random, rambling, run-on-sentences, and all). It’s always good to know that someone is paying attention. So it was quite an honor when she asked if I would write a guest post for her beautiful blog! And may I just say, not only is the food mouth-watering, but “The Three Little Piglets” is an adorable name. Piglets are third in line on my list of favorite animals. (I was always charmed with the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores too.) I would have been drawn here even without the delicious recipes.
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for allowing me to contribute to your blog. And please know that during this rough patch, even though most of your fellow food bloggers are spread across the country (and the world), you never have to feel alone…even when it’s 3am and worries are attacking in full force. Someone will always be online for you. If I’ve learned anything from being a food blogger (aside from Not using a camera flash), it’s that food bloggers are an amazingly kind and generous group of people. And one of us will always leave a light on. xo
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 1-2 large lemons)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound (4 sticks) of unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups raspberry jam, well-stirred and at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar until it's moist and fragrant; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; Set the bowl aside.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on med-high speed until creamy (about 5 minutes). Add the lemon sugar mixture and beat to combine. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add the egg yolks, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all the yolks have been added, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds until well combined.
Switch back to low speed and slowly begin to add the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated and the dough starts to come together. It should cling to the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half. Form each half into a thick disk and tightly wrap each one in plastic wrap. *Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.
[*Note: Well-wrapped, the dough can be frozen for up to one month.]
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a slight overhand around the edges. Lightly spray the foil.
Remove one dough disk from the freezer. Use a *grater or a food processor fitted with the grating attachment to coarsely grate the dough. *[Note: I found that it was much easier to cut the disk into strips and grate by hand directly into the prepared pan.] Arrange the shredded dough into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Use the palms of your hands or the back of a spoon to slightly press down on the shreds of dough. You don't have to press too hard, just enough to make it less fluffy for the jam layer. Pour the *stirred jam over the surface, and use a small off-set spatula to coax it into an even layer. Be sure to leave a 1/2-inch bare edge all the way around. Remove the remaining dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it over the jam. *[Note: If the jam is too stiff to spread, place it in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 15 seconds until it becomes more pourable.]
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle the shortbread with confectioners' sugar. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely before removing slicing.
Once the shortbread has reached room temperature, use the foil overhand to gently lift them out of the pan. Use a serrated knife to cut into squares.