Sweet Caraway Shortbread CookiesMay 15, 2015
When my little brother was a baby, my mum used to use caraway gripe water to settle him when he was collicky. She may well have used it when i was tiny as well but I can't remember that far back!
It wasn't until Charlie and I moved in together and he cooked me one of his mum-taught recipes (she prepped him well with a solid repertoire of classic recipes!), steaming carrots with butter and caraway seeds, that the smell of them hit me and I was instantly two years old again.
Memories of sitting in our kitchen in Oxford, me with my toes no where near touching the floor, and my little bro grizzling and crawling about on the tiled floor, suddenly came flooding in, so vivid and yet clearly having not been up at the from of my mind for nearly twenty years. It's amazing how evocative fragrances can be!
Shortbread is one of the simplest cookie (or biscuit as we Brits say) recipes. Its a failsafe ratio of white sugar, butter and flour: 1 part sugar: 2 parts butter: 3 parts flour.
They need to be cooked on a low heat, slowly so that they don't colour too deeply and keep their light, buttery, sweet flavour.
I always use salted butter when I bake. This will make patisserie chefs and bakers gasp in horror that I don't do my own seasoning to unsalted butter. We all know that salt exaggerates the tastes with a dish, even more so with sweet dishes, taking them to a more complex and sophisticated level.
I find that the amount of salt in ready salted butter is always better than my attempts at seasoning my own. For the untrained baker and home cook, salted butter is a simple way to add that extra level of flavour to sweet dishes.
These cookies have cracked caraway seeds in the dough, and are topped with a ground caraway sugar to give them a fragrant, botanical taste that's distinctive and unique.