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Baking King Arthur’s Solstice Shortbread

Especially since we got a bread machine, we go through a lot of King Arthur flour. I have never bought another brand of bread flour, and we typically keep a few extra bags just in case.

I have followed their blog for a long time, and although I have bookmarked plenty of breads and cakes and other baked goods, I never really thought of them as a cookie company. I don’t buy King Arthur all-purpose flour, and although it isn’t that far from, say, a cake or scone to a cookie, I had never tried.

However, I was looking for a new source of recipes, and they have a lot. Quickly overwhelmed, I filtered for cookies, then sorted by rating and came across this 5.0/5.0 perfectly rated recipe for shortbread and went for it.

What makes it shortbread? First, a lot of butter. I didn’t have enough in the fridge and had to use the microwave to warm up some chunks from the freezer.

That gets blended with the salt, sugar, and vanilla. I was concerned since I could see a lot of butter clinging to the sides of the bowl. I thought that the beater height may have changed, but I adjusted it, and it wasn’t that. I’m worried that the flexible spatula part might be misshapen, but that’s a problem to figure out next time.

I didn’t hesitate at all in picking this recipe because it includes crystallized ginger. I had bought it for the Almond Ginger Cookies, and we certainly weren’t snacking on it. Rather than chopping it up, this recipe has it go through the food processor with the flour.

The recipe makes 2 rounds of shortbread, but I actually halved the recipe. I suspect that may have made this step more difficult since the contents of the food processor were a little low for the blade, but it worked well enough.

I incorporated that into the dough, then pressed it into a cake pan. The recipe says to use your fingers or a pastry roller (it’s looks like a tiny paint roller). Since I don’t have a pastry roller, I used my fingers, but that was terrible, so I used a flexible spatula, with much more success.

I didn’t mention incorporating other dry ingredients because there weren’t any: unlike most baked goods, shortbread doesn’t have any leavening like baking soda or baking powder. I guess it just gets its structure from the air and all of the butter melting out. I used a fork as instructed to prevent any air bubbles from forming.

Despite its rough unbaked appearance, it baked perfectly smoothly.

The recipe says to invert after 2 minutes while it’s still warm. I missed that and let it cool longer, but it was still warm. These are the big moments in baking to test whether it worked, and it mostly worked. If nothing else, it’s a lot faster than scooping out dough balls

Cutting, however, didn’t work as well. I used a pizza cutter, which sliced just fine, but when I tried to extract the pieces, they began to crumble. Of course, I took the nicest looking piece for the cover photo.

The recipe turned out great. The shortbread itself was good, and the ginger was a nice touch. Is it a perfect 5/5 recipe? Well, I’m not sure how to make it better.

If you want to try baking this (or a wide variety of other baked goods), you can find the Solstice Shortbread recipe at King Arthur Baking.

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