In a recent addition of Bon Appetit I came across a tutorial on baking shortbread cookies using toasted flour and the yolks of hard boiled eggs. I was intrigued by this idea and love a good shortbread cookie so I decided to give it a go. Before diving in I did a little more research on the technique of toasting flour and came upon a recipe from the well known blog Not Without Salt. The recipes were similar, except this one omitted the egg.
Are you wondering why bother to go to the trouble of toasting flour? Well the toasting gives the cookie an almost nutty flavor. There’s a chemical change that occurs when you heat the flour this way. Maybe that’s why the dough is very crumbly and your cookies may be a tad misshapen. However they look, I think you’ll like the result. Ashely, the author of Not Without Salt, suggests serving these with a dollop of raspberry jam. I personally think that a spot of Nutella wouldn’t hurt!
Toasted Flour Shortbread (from Not Without Salt)
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cups toasted flour* (see directions on how to toast below)
2 T heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup turbinado sugar or sanding sugar
There are two methods for toasting flour. The first one is done in the oven. Preheat to 350°. Place the flour on a baking sheet. Stir often once the top layer of flour browns, until all the flour is golden. Let cool and then proceed with recipe. This will probably take 20-30 minutes, but keep checking as flour will burn quickly.
The method I used was to toast the flour stovetop in a saute pan. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Place flour in pan over medium heat and continue to stir until it is golden. As it browns there will be a nutty aroma filling your kitchen. Remove from heat and let cool. As you can see from the above photo the toasted flour is quite a bit darker than the untoasted which is on the wooden spoon.
Cream the butter, vanilla and sugars. Add the flour, cream and salt. Stir just to combine.
Place the crumbly dough on a sheet of parchment. Form into a 1″ log. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top and press it into the dough covering all sides.
Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Slice the log into ¼’ rounds for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on the sheet tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen