Recipe: Brown Sugar-Almond Shortbread Cookies

There hasn’t been a lot of baking on this blog. Not like I used to. But I like to document when I try something new, so I can look back and remember, “Yeah! I baked that!”

I baked these shortbread cookies as a gift, because I wanted something simple, but special. A dessert, but not too sweet.

The recipe is from the cookbook, Baking, by Dorie Greenspan. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks ever. I’ve had the book for years and have a few tried and true recipes. I’ve decided to venture out a bit more and bake some of the other recipes in the book. There are so many to choose from!

For this recipe, I didn’t have pecans, so I used almonds. I cut the recipe in half, and used ground cardamom instead of cloves.

While my cookies aren’t as pretty as the ones in the book, I think they’re still pretty cute! And the taste is wonderful! I highly recommend trying them. They’re great as a gift. To bring to a brunch or an afternoon tea. Or just for yourself. If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

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Brown Sugar-Almond Shortbread Cookies (Makes about a dozen cookies)
(Adapted version of Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread Cookies, from Baking, by Dorie Greenspan)

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup flour
2 T cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch of ground cardamom
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground almonds

Optional for dusting
2 T powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. crushed edible lavender

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the butter in a medium sized bowl and microwave, just until it gets a little soft. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the ones for dusting) and combine.

Use a rubber spatula to put the mixture in a gallon size resealable zipper storage plastic bag. Don’t seal it yet. Use your hands to shape the dough into a log, by pressing and rolling. When it seems to be the right shape, so it will slice into nice sized cookies, press the air out of the bag, seal it and put into freezer for about 45 minutes or so, until very firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper. Remove dough from the freezer and take out of the plastic bag. I wash plastic bags and reuse them until they break. It is Earth Day after all! Reuse and recycle!

Place the dough on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice into pieces. Put the pieces on the cookie sheets, then take a fork and prick each cookie twice.

Bake cookies for about 20 minutes. They should not brown.

In a small bowl, combine lavender and powdered sugar.¬† When you remove the cookies, sprinkle the powdered sugar lavender mixture on top while they are still hot. Let cool a bit and they’re ready to eat!

Special Day Cooking: A Life Skills Cookbook

Special Day Cooking cookbook cover

When I heard about a cookbook written especially for people who love to cook and have an intellectual disability, I was interested in learning more, so I accepted a review copy to look at myself.

The author, Beverly Worth Palomba is originally from Massachusetts, but moved to the West Coast. As a high school Special Education teacher, she created a life skills cooking class especially for her students. Since Palomba’s unique method of teaching worked so well, she decided to write a cookbook. An excerpt from her website gives more insight.

Special Day Cooking was written to help people with developmental challenges become independent in the kitchen. Whether you are living at home, in a group home or on your own, Special Day Cooking provides the tools to be independent or part of a team. Special Day Cooking chefs have the ability to prepare dinner, pack their own lunch, and bring a goodie to a social event. Cooking involves so many aspects of life; it is creative, builds social skills, fosters teamwork, encourages self-confidence and is a fun activity to do with family and friends.

I haven’t made any of the recipes from the cookbook, but I’m impressed with the variety and the easy feel of it. There are recipes for every meal of the day, soups and salads, vegetables, drinks and snacks. And my favorite – dessert! There is even a recipe for Chocolate Mug Cake!

I love cooking and think that the more people who cook their own food the better. Saving money and healthier eating are also big benefits of cooking, so having this life skill exponentially increases the positives in our lives.

This book is a great idea and would make a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys spending time preparing food and has an intellectual disability or is just a beginner cook. Either way, Special Day Cooking is a cookbook that will provide some tasty food and lots of fun!

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 Disclosure: The review copy was provided complimentary to me. Thank you!

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Screenshot: Amazon