Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness - Oh My!

It's the first week of March and that means that my busiest month of the year is here - hosting guests, throwing parties and attending conferences. With all this pending craziness, I try to take a moment here and there to breathe in the fresh air and contemplate my strategy for the weeks ahead. Sipping tea is the perfect way to relax in your thoughts. I have always enjoyed tea and have passed this tradition on to my daughter as well. Of course, with tea comes delicious sweet & savory morsels and because my time is limited and I would rather spend it sipping rather than baking, I try to make either a quick scone or a quick shortbread. I like these quick breads because you can make them in a jiffy and freeze what you don't eat so that the next time you're having one of those days - or weeks... or months (yes I have been there too) - you can pop it in the toaster and then pop it in your mouth and let that sweet zest become your zen for the day. I'm jus' sayin'!

When I think of spring I think of citrus and even though the first official day of Spring is still a few weeks away, I always like have big bowls of citrus sitting on my table. It's fresh and awakens your senses.

Zesty Orange-Almond Shortbread

  • 2 stick (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Blend together butter, sugar, zest, and salt in a bowl with a fork. Sift flour into butter mixture and blend with fork until mixture forms a soft dough.

Transfer dough to an ungreased large baking sheet and pat into a 10- by 5-inch rectangle. Prick dough all over with fork and sprinkle with coarse sugar (if using), pressing it gently into dough with your fingertips to adhere. Score dough crosswise with back of a knife into 6 rectangles (do not cut all the way through),
Bake shortbread in middle of oven until edges are golden but center is pale, 12 to 17 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes, then cut into 12 squares along scored lines while still warm. Transfer triangles with a long spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Serve with homemade Meyer lemon curd and fresh berries.

1 comment:

  1. Looks delish! Craziness is indeed impending. Thanks for the reminder that we need to all stop and take a tea break from time to time!