02 January 2011

Raspberry-Rum Shortbread

It's January and yesterday was the first time that I made Christmas cookies. In fact, throughout December, I made no cookies whatsoever. Sure, the jam-ricotta crescents were called 'crescent cookies' in the original recipe, but they were more like pastries and I made them after Christmas anyway. And there were the chocolate chip pie bars, but they were made with Thanksgiving in mind, not Christmas. (Funnily, I complained about the mess and stress of rolling out dough in that post. In the last five days, I have rolled out no less than four separate doughs, one of them multiple times to make it into puff pastry - a steak and ale pie which will come out of the oven soon - and actually enjoyed doing it. Maybe it's the use of a champagne bottle as a rolling pin.)

Anyway: personally, I blame the knitting - what with deciding to make knitted gifts in November, there was very little time for me to go on cooking adventures. If I ever decide to knit a gift again, I'll have to start at least six months before the due date. That's the plan at least.

So now that Christmas and the time of panicked knitting is over, I am very happy to put my needles aside and head back to the kitchen. Just to add to the oddity of making cookies right after Christmas, I even used our Christmas cookie cutters - only used once before, and that was by Tom who tried to make a fried egg in the shape of a snowman. It didn't work too well, as far as I remember.

The original recipe was for cranberry-rum shortbread from Everybody Likes Sandwiches. The dough was rolled by hand into logs and sliced for cookies, but I felt like more work. Either way is good. I also used frozen rather than dried fruit, which gave the fruit-rum mixture a whole different spin. The original recipe will give you shortbread with cranberries; mine, with its many adaptations, gives you purple, fruity, boozy biscuits.

Raspberry Rum Shortbread
(Printable Recipe)
Makes about 25 biscuits

1 cup of frozen raspberries (or other fruit)
1/2 cup of rum
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar, divided into two 1/2 cups
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Put the berries and rum into a pan and heat on the stove until the mixture starts to bubble. Turn off the heat and leave for half an hour.

Raspberries and rum, marinating.
Cream the butter with the lime juice, vanilla, and half a cup of icing sugar. I had had enough of creaming by hand so after five minutes of manic stirring, I squished the ingredients together with clean hands. Add salt and baking powder, and gradually add the flour while stirring, one half-cup at a time. If the mixture gets too thick, add some of the rum (which should now have taken on the colour of the berries) to loosen it slightly. Add the remaining rum and fruit and knead the dough for about five minutes.

The dough, pre-kneading.
Shape the dough either into a ball (if you are going to roll it out later) or into two logs, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

If you have shaped the dough into logs, slice thick circles from the log with a knife and bake in an oven at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) on a greased parchment sheet for thirty minutes.

Alternatively, roll out the dough with more flour and cut out biscuits with cookie cutters.

Cutting out biscuits.
Bake the cookies at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) on a greased parchment sheet for thirty minutes - mine took this long because the biscuits were still very thick. Thinner biscuits will take less time.

Using the remaining half cup of icing sugar, dust the biscuits. Taste first to see if this is necessary: you may find that it isn't.