Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black Currant Shortbread Bars and the Virtual Great American Bake Sale!

I am so completely honored to participate in the Share our Strength’s Virtual Great American Bake Sale!

Kate from Cooking from Stolen Moments contacted me last month asking me (yes, little me) to participate, and I couldn’t feel more privileged.

If any of you are fond watchers of the Food Network, there is a big possibility you have seen the commercials promoting this great cause to see that no child goes hungry. But as Kate told me, this will be the first ever VIRTUAL bake sale. How cool is that? It’s amazing what the blogosphere can do.

The first Virtual Great American Bake Sale starts April 13 and 100% of the proceeds go directly to Share our Strength! Be sure to check it out, so that we can do our part to see that no child ever goes hungry.

Now to the cookies!

These shortbread cookies just are a feel good cookie, and certainly not lacking in the butter department.

I can remember the first time I had a shortbread bar, it was lemon. I didn't like lemon, but somehow, it converted me in an instant. I polished off all 6 bars and walked away from the plate in utter embarrassement. I lost all self control.

These bars, I can't say will be any different. Their good. Darn good.
You want to know the worst part? It tests my dearest patience just waiting for these to cool. Because you HAVE to wait for then to cool COMPLETELY (yes I mean completely folks) before you remove them from the pan. Unless you like a gooey mess, and in that case, by all them out of the oven. But don't say I didnt warn you when you get that similar to pizza burn at the roof of your mouth.

Oh yea...these cookies are serious business.

Don't let the "black currant" fancy pants name scare you off. These babies can be made with ANY jam you have.

Black Currant Shortbread Bars
Recipe derived from Fine Cooking

2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (10 ½ oz) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 egg yolks
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (14 ¼ oz.) all purpose flour
2 cups Black currant preserves (or you could use raspberry, cherry etc.)

Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, be sure to leave and overhang. This will allow you to remove the cookies with ease when they are completed.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, ¾ cups of sugar (leave the other ¼ cup for later), and salt. Add the egg yolks. Mix well. Then, switch to a rubber spatula and add the flour and mix just until combined. Transfer about 2 cups or (3/4 of the dough) to the pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate the dough to stiffen for 30 minutes. Preheat oven the 325 degrees F.

This isnt a 9x13 pan...forget you saw this photo.
This is what the foil should look like.

Remove dough from refrigerator, prick dough with a fork a few times. Bake the dough on the center rack in the oven for about 20 minutes. You don’t want the crust to brown, it should stay pretty light in color and won’t be completely firm in the middle. This is ok because you will be putting this back in the oven later.

Meanwhile, with the remainder of the dough, mix in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Set aside.

Pull shortbread out of the oven and top with jam. Spread evenly. Top with the crumb mixture. You don’t want to break the crumbs up too much because they will spread during the cooking process, and you want to have some larger crumbs.

Increase the temperature to 350 degrees F and put the pan back in the oven, on the top 3rd rack of the oven for 25 minutes longer. This will allow the top of the crumbs to brown while allowing the bottom of the cookie mixture not to brown.
Remove pan from oven once crust is golden brown and place on a wire cooling rack. Do not attempt to remove the bars until completely cooled (about an hour). Once cooled, remove the bars by pulling up from the aluminum foil and slice into 2x2 inch pieces. Store in an airtight container.


Jeff said...

Looks awesome and oh yeah I am definitely in for a lamb cook off. How do you think we should do it?

Ulla said...

I am saving this for summer when our red currents come in! that looks fantastic!

Sweet as Coco said...

Ulla-thats a great idea to use fresh! I just used the jam. :)

Rachwins said...

I just made a vegan version of these by omitting the egg and replacing the butter with marg. Swapped the jam with blackcurrants that O simmered in cassis, sugar and arrowroot.
Made a batch twice the size that we needed to I could take it to a gig for friends... never made it out of the house. Now on our third batch in a week!
Amazing recipe!

Sweet as Coco said...

Rach- cool you made this into a vegan dessert! Glad you loved it!

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