As we continue our countdown to the TSB cookie exchange on December 15, Kyra Effren, our contributing food writer, sent us the following delectable recipes to share with our readers. I can personally attest to the fact that these cookies are absolutely delicious, and, when it comes to shortbread, the perfection is in the simplicity. Need I say more?
Here are Kyra's recipes:
SHORTBREAD (featured photo)
When my Mother was alive – everyone who traveled to South Africa would carry a package of these
shortbread I baked for her. She would hoard them and eat one every day – and then wait patiently for
the next delivery.
Everyone has a BEST shortbread recipe – this IS the best…
1 ½ cups soft butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar
3 ½ cups All purpose flour
½ cup rice flour [available at most health and ethnic and up market supermarkets]
Cream the butter and salt together with the confectioner’s sugar until light
Stir in the rice flour and all purpose flour.
Knead by hand or in mixer to soft dough
Press evenly into an UNGREASED 10x15 jelly roll pan [a rolling pin or paint [CLEAN!!] roller is very
effective – place saran wrap on top of the dough and roll …].
Using a sharp knife, mark the squares. Using a toothpick or fork – prick each square.
Allow to chill for about 30 minutes to 1 hour
Preheat oven to 325
Place the pan on the lowest rung in the oven and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until the dough has
taken on a pale color
Remove from oven and turn the oven down to 300
Re-cut the squares and separate them – placing some on a second cookie sheet
Return the cookies to the oven and bake just until the shortbread is baked all the way through and has
no ‘shadow layer’ in the middle.
Remove and allow to cool.
They will keep for at least two weeks – and longer if you freeze. You can also freeze the uncooked
CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHEWS
These heavenly mouthfuls have been known to prompt proposals of marriage or at least vows of
½ cup soft butter- DIVIDED USE
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
20 soft caramels
Beat HALF the butter with the sugars until light. Beat in the yolk and vanilla
Melt the chocolate with the rest of the butter and beat into the batter
Stir in the flour and then the mini chips
Chill the dough for at least 4 hours
Unwrap the caramels and roll each into a smooth ball
Wrap a tablespoon of the chocolate dough around each caramel being sure it is covered completely
[You can freeze the balls at this point if you want to finish them later]
Chill the balls for 1 hour
Pre heat oven to 325
Place the cookies 2” apart on a greased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper
Bake for about 10 minutes and then check them. If they look ‘dry’ they are done – Do NOT over bake
Cool on rack
If you wish to add a glaze – place a piece of chocolate [you can now get large chocolate chips] on each
cookie as soon as they come out of the oven and allow to melt, then set.
Note: I use one of my many ice cream scoops to form the balls which then bake more evenly
DOREEN’ GINGER SQUARES
The recipe for these wonderful bars was given to me by my Mother’s best friend. She had never shared
it with anyone else. She passed away unexpectedly shortly after giving it to me. I am sure she would be
happy to know that Doreen’s Ginger Bars are now known and loved all over the world.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ Tablespoons ground ginger
1 egg – lightly whisked
6 pieces preserved ginger – chopped [see note]
2 Tablespoons syrup from the preserved ginger
12 glace cherries [optional]
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375
Melt butter in medium saucepan [keep butter wrapper]
Stir in sugar and flour, baking powder and powdered ginger.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan
Remove from heat and cool 1 minute then stir in the egg, chopped ginger, ginger syrup and cherries
The mixture will be very gooey – do not worry.
Press the batter into a greased 10x15 jelly roll pan using the butter wrapper to even out the mixture
Bake for about 20 -30 minutes until set and dry looking – and slightly browned
While the bars are cooking make the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice to
make a thick but spreadable glaze.
Remove pan from the oven and immediately spread the glaze over the top of the dough. Allow to cool
Then cut into squares.
Note: Preserved ginger in syrup is fairly widely available – but if you have difficulty in locating it, you can
substitute ½ cup ginger marmalade for the ginger and syrup.
[note: these are not strictly cookies – but who’s complaining!]
24 – 36 medjool dates
1 package or can of marzipan or almond paste
3 oz dark chocolate – chopped
Sliced almonds for decoration
Slit the dates in half lengthwise and press a ‘pecan’ size piece of marzipan or almond paste into the
Press to close
Melt the chocolate – [1 minute on High in the microwave] and dip one end of the dates into the
chocolate. Set a slice almond on top
Set on a parchment paper lined plate and allow to cool [Chill to hasten the process]
Serve in paper cases
You can also gild the lily by dipping the other end of the date into white chocolate and adding some