Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies. Crisp, light, buttery…just a few fresh ingredients perfectly combined in a classic treat. As a transplant to Minnesota, I’ve grown to appreciate the Scandinavian influences found in many local baked goods. Often the treats are offered with a vague reference to "my great-grandmother‘s secret recipe" or some such excuse as to why reproducing the dessert will prove elusive. But I can share this recipe for Orange Cardamom Shortbread Wedges with you, and you can claim it came from your own "mysterious" source. I won’t tell a soul.
When I came across this recipe, I thought the combination of fresh orange zest, citrusy cardamom and shortbread would make the perfect addition to a summer potluck or even a baby shower. It won’t melt or sag like chocolate or creamy desserts when the thermometer climbs above 90°F. Of course, the same can’t be said for Great Granny’s makeup, but that’s another story.
I’ve lived among the "Norse" long enough to know that the words "that’s interesting" can be a positive or a negative comment, depending on the context. I know "the weather" is always a safe topic. I even find I’ve adopted the local slang of, "Oh, yaaahh" when agreeing with someone. I draw the line at adding "you betcha" though. Even though I’ve lived in the region for 20 years, I’m still a bit of an outsider, and that’s okay with me…just as long as I get to eat their traditional Scandinavian sweets.
First things first--the butter must be very soft, so leave it out at least one hour before starting this recipe. I prefer to use unsalted butter in shortbread to enhance the sweet, light flavors of the cookie, but you may use salted as well.
While waiting for the butter to soften, grate 2 teaspoons of orange peel.
Measure out the flour, and mix the cardamom with it.
Place the sugar, softened butter, orange peel and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed until creamy.
Lower the speed of the mixer before adding the flour/cardamom mixture. Beat until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Press the mixture into two ungreased round 9-inch baking pans.
Place into a heated 350°F oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (until the edges are light golden brown.)
Cool 10 minutes before cutting the shortbread into 16 wedges. Leave the shortbread in the pan an additional hour to cool.
Meanwhile, heat ½ cup orange marmalade until it is melted. I like to use the microwave, but it can also be done on the stovetop. Make sure it has a thin consistency, or it will be difficult to use.
Brush the cooled shortbread with the melted marmalade glaze and serve.
Now doesn’t that look interesting?
Bring out your inner-Scandinavian and try these Orange Cardamom Shortbread Wedges, and make sure to come back and rate and review the recipe if you do.
Check back in a few days when Bridget will share a summery treat.
Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.