T’s Shortbread Revisited

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summary: revision of T’s shortbread; rice flour is the key; taking the lead from a recipe in “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford; new fridge magnet; time for more magnetic poetry;

We just finished the last of T’s Christmas shortbread. (Waahhh!! Does that mean Christmas is over? :stomp: :stomp: )

As always, it was great shortbread, even though it was slightly different from previous years. Amazingly, we didn’t take any photos.

But trust me, it looks exactly the same as the earlier versions:


But don’t let same-looks fool you. We think this new version is superior. Indeed, it was the best ever.

Here’s how the revision came about. This past year, when we were reading “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffery Alford, we were really intrigued by the green tea shortbread with poppy seeds:

[This is a] delectable and attractive shortbread, flavored with ingredients local to southern Yunnan: poppy seeds and green tea. The recipe calls for butter, but in Yunnan lard is the more available and local shortening; substituted lard for the butter if you wish. […] The tea gives the rich sweet shortbread an enticing bitter edge.
– Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, Beyond the Great Wall, p329

Hmmm… “delectable and attractive”, eh?

I was certain that I had taken photos of that green tea shortbread! Alas, after searching and searching, I cannot find any sign of even one blurred photo of the cookies in my mixed-up files. What a shame. As I recall, they were quite spectacularly ugly to look at: a sort of grey-green colour, mottled with the grey blue of the poppy seeds.

Green Tea Shortbread With Poppy Seeds Unsurprisingly, there is no photo of the cookies in Alford’s and Duguid’s cookbook filled with gorgeous photo after gorgeous photo. And you can sort of see why when you look at the photo of the shortbread in the December 2012 article (with recipe) that appeared in the Washington Post. :lalala:

They cookies tasted pretty good though. But perhaps not quite good enough to make them again…. (That colour! brrrrr)

What we really liked about the green tea shortbread cookies was how crispy they were. So T decided to add a little rice flour to his Christmas shortbread this year. Here’s what he did to make the best shortbread ever:

Shortbread Revisited
based on recipes for our “Grange” shortbread, and green tea shortbread with poppy seeds in “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

for one 11×17″ jelly roll tray


  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c rice flour
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened
  • salt to taste
  1. Put all ingredients into a bowl. Use your fingers to mix til crumbly.
  2. Taste for salt. Add more if necessary.
  3. Use your hands to pat the dough into an ungreased jellyroll pan. Pierce through at frequent intervals with a fork. Bake at 250F on the uppermost shelf of the oven for about 50 minutes – until the bottom is golden but not dark.
  4. Remove from oven. While they are warm, use a straight edge to cut the shortbread into small rectangles. Imagine serving them at a tea…. Standing the rectangles on their sides with plenty of space between each rectangle (use a couple of cookie trays) and bake at 175F (note that the oven is set at a lower temperature) for another 30 minutes. They should be beautifully uniform golden coloured everywhere. Leaving them on the tray, cool the cookies completely and then taste to make sure they’re crisp. If not, stick them back in the oven for a few minutes longer.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing in a tin.

These keep well for about a month.

When we were admiring our friends’ brand new kitchen with its induction stove, they gave us this wonderful fridge magnet, because their new fridge door won’t hold magnets(!!) We had been raving about our tagine and commiserated with them that they might not be able to discover its wonders in their kitchen. But when we got home, we tested the cat magnet on our heat diffuser. And look!! A tagine CAN be used (with a diffuser) on an induction stove.


Magnetic Poetry

magnetic poetry And speaking of magnets, as I was tidying the shelves of Christmas decorations, I came across our boxes of Magnetic Poetry tiles, and realized that it has been FAR too long since we played a round!

As I’m sure everyone knows, April is National Poetry Month, and November is National Novel Writing Month. Both are simply awesome. So I am officially combining both ideas and announcing that April is herefore Refrigerator Poetry Writing Month.
-Rhino Writer, RePoWriMo, RePoWha?, Thursday, March 6, 2008

I really don’t care what month it is. I don’t care if it’s Poetry Month or not. Any month is good for playing Magnetic Poetry!

Here’s how to play: Choose twenty tiles randomly and then everyone creates poems using the same words. (We always hide our final poems until everyone creates their poem(s).) You do not have to use all the words at once. Make as many poems as you like with the tiles.

The only rule is that each tile can only be used once.

Ready? I hope so. I hope so!

Here are your tiles (in alphabetical order):

[an] [blow] [cool] [enormous] [delicate] [feet] [from] [gorgeous] [I] [milk] [music] [place] [pole] [produce] [show] [smell] [some] [them] [true] [woman]


Of course you will want to compose your poem before seeing what I did. Here is my poem from the above words.

cat magnet



This entry was posted in baking, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc., food & drink, posts with recipes, RePoWriMo on by .

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2 responses to “T’s Shortbread Revisited

  1. Barbara

    [delicate] [music] [from] [some] [gorgeous] [place]
    [I] [smell] [cool][feet]

    This was a tough one. I haven’t looked at yours yet, but I bet you managed to use all the words.

    edit: I bet you’re wrong! I had 3 words left over. Your poem is excellent, Barbara. -Elizabeth

    1. barbara

      Your poems were excellent also. I was kind of relieved that you hadn’t managed to use all the words.
      “enormous smell” … *childish snicker*

      edit: This list of words was way too hard to use up all the words. I was disappointed that there was no opportunity for upside-down words either. At least I think there wasn’t. (I was extremely proud of “enormous smell”. :whee: ) -Elizabeth


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