Flour + Sugar + Butter = Shortbread

One of my classmates was here a few weeks ago and he looked into my empty fridge and said, “If you’re such a gourmet, why isn’t there any food in your refrigerator?”

His point is well taken. Now that I live alone, it’s like I have no idea what goes into a fridge. When I moved in with Lauren two years ago, her fridge already had all the usual fridge stuff—the pickles, the ketchup, the cheese, the fungus growing in the back. I have that too, but the fridge still seems barren.

Maybe the problem is accessibility—I don’t live incredibly close to a grocery store except for Whole Foods which is mighty expensive. So I tend to wait until I have a recipe and then shop for that recipe. When I do go to the generic grocery story–Gristede’s–I buy the basics: flour, sugar, butter.

And that’s what I had to work with tonight when I had a craving for something sweet. Naturally, flipped open my Barefoot Contessa book and found her recipe for shortbread cookies. Very easy indeed.

Put butter in mixer (3/4 lbs). Add 1 cup sugar. Mix until blended. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Beat. Then sift 3.5 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt into the butter/sugar and mix until dough comes together. Flatten into a disc, cover in plastic and refrigerate.*

*NOTE: I divided the dough in half, wrapping each in plastic, and put one in the freezer for future use. Thus the yield here is less than if you used the whole dough.

30 minutes later roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out heart-shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. I improvised with my poor-man’s cookie cutter:


Got six out of the first roll:


Two out of the remainder. (For those slow on math, that makes eight.)

Put them on my Silpat and sprinkled with sugar. Put them in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until edges were brown:


How easy! How fun! Tasted like sweet sugary biscuits. Just what the doctor ordered and only three ingredients. (Four if you count salt.) Now that’s what I call living…

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