A Frederick Food Garden

Growing (and eating) fruit and veggies in a little downtown garden

Tuesdays with Dorie–Week 7—Hungarian Shortbread

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Hi Dorie-ites! How did this week's recipe go for you? I think I found my new go-to bar recipe. To say these were a hit at my house would be an understatement. I think my husband's diet is in serious jeopardy. Luckily, I visited my mom on Friday and left some bars with her and Dad. Kevin posted some pictures of the bars on his Facebook page. Recipe requests immediately followed. We told them to check out the blog on Tuesday. Our gracious hosts this week are Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler… Click on either of these for the full recipe.

There are two parts: rhubarb jam and the bars themselves. I usually do the recipe as written, but not this time. I do a lot of canning each summer. As usual, I made way more jam than we can ever use. So, I skipped the rhubarb and chose two homemade jams instead. I used blackberry and apricot. One note: the shortbread is very sweet, so pick something with some tang.

I noticed that some of my fellow bloggers did research and found that traditional Hungarian Shortbread recipes tell you to bake the first layer of dough before topping it with jam. This is one place where laziness paid off. I didn't par-bake the first layer and mine turned out fine. Let's hear it for sloth!

The recipe is pretty easy. Mix a pound of unsalted butter (this isn't diet food, folks!), sugar and egg yolks; add flour, baking powder and salt. I also added some vanilla (sue me) and some almond extract (excellent with the apricot jam). Then, divide the dough, wrap it, and put it in the freezer for about half an hour. One note about the dough texture: my dough was pretty soft and a little sticky. After the time in the freezer, it was hard around the edges, but still soft in the middle. I think that's pretty ideal. I read online that some TWD-ers had problems shredding the dough. Too long in the freezer, and it got rock-hard.

Use a box grater to shred the first dough ball into the pan. I pressed the dough down, but not too much. You should still be able to see the outline of the shreds. At this point, it looked disconcertingly like swiss cheese. I spread half with the blackberry jam, and half with apricot. I used a half pint of each jam, which is twice as much as the recipe called for. I know, I'm really off the reservation this week. Look out! She's going crazy, right?

Top the jam with the other half of the dough and press it down (gently!) My husband stole a couple of shreds of dough. He said they were tasty. I shooed him out of the kitchen. Still looks like swiss cheese to me. I baked this for about 50 minutes, until the top was a uniform golden brown. The recipe called for 40 minutes, but my oven is always slow. I didn't have any problem with the middle being soft.

One more tip: put a foil sling in the bottom of your pan before you bake it. Not only will it be easier to cut perfect bars, but cleanup will be a breeze. These directions are from Cooks Illustrated. They have a great website, well worth the subscription price. Fold an 18-inch length of foil lengthwise to an 8-inch width. Fit the foil into the length of a 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan; allow the excess to overhang the pan edges. Cut a 14-inch length of foil and fit it into the width of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold the second sheet lengthwise to a 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

This is another recipe that welcomes improvisation. I'm going to try replacing the jam with KA's cinnamon filling. I also think that bittersweet chocolate would taste great in between these layers. How about caramel and pecans? Also, these bars more than pass the coffee test. Who needs the half-stale pastries at Starbuck's? I'll take Hungarian Shortbread every time.

Author: cathybruce

I'm a graphic designer, cook, gardener, geek, wife, and mom. Not necessarily in that order.

15 Comments

  1. Delicious Shortcake… I’m definitely going to make it again.
    I loved it, and though I’d reduced the butter by 1/3 it still was great!
    Thanks for baking along!
    Greetings from Switzerland.

  2. This recipe is the perfect vehicle for your home-canned jams and jellies. You made the right call on that front. I loved the ease and elegance of these bars.
    Is your Frederick Food Garden in Maryland? My sister lives on a former dairy farm in Ijamsville, and my 5-year plan is to move to downtown Frederick. I’ve fallen in love with its charm and being closer to family would be an added bonus.

    • Yes, my garden is in MD. We live in the downtown in a 105 year old house. We love living downtown. We don’t always love our house’s lack of right angles, but what do you expect after a hundred years? Real estate prices should stay reasonable for at least a few more years. I hope you find your dream home.

  3. Glad you and your family enjoyed them!

  4. My blog is blogspot and wordpress is not accepting my posts. I have only been able to post on one other wordpress blog and that is Karen at soup addict. If you have any ideas about what I can do would you let me know? Thank you!

  5. They look great! I think any jam would be wonderful with this recipe. I like that you used two different types in the same pan. Thanks for sharing the foil sling tip.

  6. I use foil slings for brownies… but I chose to use a fluted tart pan for this and boy was it difficult to get out of the pan in pretty wedges! LOL!!

  7. Beautiful post with great pictures – I love that you used two different kinds of lovely homemade jam, blackberry and apricot sounds delicious! I must admit that the name of your blog did catch my attention…one of my sons is called Frédéric…nice name…

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. Beautiful. And definitely not diet food. :D Sloths unite!

  9. This is definitely my favorite TWD recipe so far!! Yours look great :D

  10. I raided my pantry for fillings as well. Have to make room for this season bounty, you know?
    Your shortbread looks great – thanks for baking along.

  11. Just so everyone knows- it *is* deadly for my diet ;)
    - the hubby

  12. Your choice of fillings sound wonderful. Especially the apricot – one of my favorites.

  13. I used a parchment paper sling in mine – it makes it so much easier, doesn’t it?

    You’re right about tang – this bar is so good with the contrast between sweet and tart. Love your idea to add some almond extract to the dough. Your bars must have been heavenly.

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