Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges

Last year, I took part in the LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry!  I met so many wonderful bloggers and had a great time.  Plus, I had BLD‘s life-changing Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.  So really, it was a win-win day!

This year, my wonderful husband spotted a newspaper article asking for volunteer bakers for a No Kid Hungry Bake Sale closer to home!  The Redlands Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry sponsored by a Team called the IE Cookie Monsters.  It had to be fate!  You know how I feel about cookies!!

After sending an Email to Team IE Cookie Monsters, I started planning what I wanted to bake. Of course, I had to make brownies. That seems to be a tradition now.  I knew I wanted to do something different, but what?   After a bit of recipe searching, I settled on these easy and delicious Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges.  They are thick, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, have with a cup of tea on a rainy day, cookies.
Scored Shortbread Wedges

I’m planning on making these again for Mothers Day.  That is, if I can wait that long for another batch.

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Ingredients:

2 Sticks Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar (or regular sugar, with one tsp vanilla bean paste), plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

2 cups Flour

1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until it turns a pale yellow.  On a sheet of parchment paper, sift sugars together using a fine mesh sieve. Pick up the parchment paper and use it to gently add sugar mix to the butter. Continue to beat until thick and creamy (about 5 minutes).  If you are using regular sugar, add the vanilla paste after you’ve creamed the sugar and butter together.

Sift flour and salt together over the same sheet of parchment paper.  Add to butter/sugar mix, mix until just incorporated.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

After dough has chilled, press gently in an 8″ round cake pan.  No need to grease the pan, there is plenty of butter in the dough!  Score the dough into wedges, so it will be easier to cut when it’s done baking.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the top of the shortbread has barely browned.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Cut the shortbread along the score marks, forming eight large wedges.  Dust lightly with 1 tsp granulated sugar.

Share these with a friend and a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Vanilla Shortbread Wedges

NOTE:  These make very thick cookies.  You can split the dough in half and use two cake pans.  Shorten your cooking time to 35-40 minutes (watch carefully).  You can also roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters.  If you use cookie cutters, place the dough back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.  Baking cold cookies will help them maintain their shape.

ENJOY!!

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My year (and then some) in review!

A month or so ago, while a bear was stealing our delicious double-smoked bacon, my blog passed it’s one year blog-iversary! I’m very late in doing a recap. Please forgive me!

I guess if there is one thing you should know about me, I’m “chronologically challenged.” To any potential or current employers, of course, I’m only kidding. To the rest of you, I will be late for my own funeral. I think it’s genetic.

Moving on!

This year has been an amazing, wonderful, roller-coaster adventure ride! As I look through the pictures on my computer and the ones etched on my heart, I’m humbled at how richly I’ve been blessed. I have met many incredible people, taken a crazy number of cooking classes, and been fortunate enough to meet some amazing Chefs!

One of the biggest blessings from the last year is a great friendship with someone who goes along on foodie adventures, encourages every foodie whim, finds awesome opportunities and when we’re out, she never eats until I’ve taken pictures of her food. 🙂 Thanks Marie!
This is her, hiding behind a basket she won at the O.C. Chocolate Festival VIP party!
She is totally made of awesome sauce!

With over 30 cooking classes in the past 13 months, I have learned to make things like classic French Macarons (I never knew cookies could have “feet!”), risotto, rolled meatloaf, cake pops, doughnuts, pickles, frittatas, strawberry jam, potato wrapped fish, crepes, foccacia bread, Provençal chicken, grilled pizza dough, hand-made pasta and how to use chocolate in a variety of things! Like I need an excuse for that last one, right? HA! There were a couple of classes that were terrible, but in the end, they ALL taught me something. Even if that something was what NOT to do when I have my own cooking classes. 😉

Some of the best things I learned to make on my own this year, either through the internet, cookbook or a recipe from a Chef, have been vanilla extract, gallettes – both sweet and savory, bangers and mash, homemade chicken pot pie, pumpkin pie from real pumpkins, melted snowman cookies, root beer float cookies for ice cream sandwiches, chocolate dipped potato chip cookies, hot wings, cheesecake stuffed strawberries, spicy baked rigatoni, egg rolls, fish tacos, lemon curd, avocado fries, potato pancakes, seared scallops, jicima slaw, Julia’s beef bourgeon, quinoa salad and a copy cat version of Northwoods Inn Cabbage Salad. Yep, it’s been a delicious year!

I’ve followed a dozen Chefs around the Santa Monica Farmers Market through The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories – Follow That Chef series! They each imparted wisdom, great experiences and taught me how to make my own Ricotta cheese (Thank you Chef Jeremy!) how to make raw spring rolls (Thanks Kirsten Gum!) all about Lardoons (Thank you Linda Civitello!) how to make my own chorizo (Thank you Chef Paul Osher!) about fantastic Thai vegetarian dishes (Thank you Michael Natkin!) how to poach salmon in oil and make a plate look stunning (Thank you MasterChef Tracy Kontos!) different ways to enjoy heirloom tomatoes (Thank you Gwen Kenneally) not to be afraid of Kale Chips and beet salad (Thank you Suzanne Landry!) and so much more!!!

I’ve gotten autographed cookbooks from: Gwen Kenneally, Michael Natkin, Joy Wilson, Suzanne Landry, Warren Catterson, Laura Werlin, Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, and Guy Fieri! Even more exciting, I’ve met each of them, with the exception of Mario Batali, Tyler Florence and Warren Catterson. Warren and I are in the same food bloggers group on FB and we’ve chatted before, but, Mario and Tyler, if you want to meet for coffee somewhere, I’m Ok with that too! 😀

I’ve had fantastic “food experiences” this year! The IE food truck festival, the O.C. Chocolate Festival, LA Food and Wine (the first year), Brew ‘B’ Que on the Pier, The Share Our Strength Bake Sale, Taste of the Nation – Los Angeles, an audition for a TV show, LA Food and Wine (the sequel), just to name a few.

Most importantly this year, I’ve learned to be fearless in my own kitchen! I’ve developed a passion for trying different foods, cooking with fresh, natural ingredients and experiencing LIFE in each delicious moment.

These are opportunities and things I NEVER would have imagined if I hadn’t started this blogging journey last year. Next year, I’ll be taking you along to more places, more classes and more events! I’m so excited about what the next few months have in store! I’m especially looking forward to many, many new foodie adventures and I hope you’ll be joining me for each of them!

P.S. Did I mention I met Guy Fieri…. TWICE! SQUEEEEE!!

LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale!

Saturday was the Share Our Strength LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale!

It was such a fun event! This was my first time participating. I was thrilled to be there and meet some of the faces behind the blogs I love! Together we raised over $700 for a very worthy cause!
Here are just a few of the delicious goodies that were available…
Burgers and Fries







For my part, I made P.B.K. Brownies…

You can follow this link PBK BROWNIES to get the recipe!

I also made Lemon & Rosemary Tea Cookies and Honey Crisp Cookies!

I will be posting the recipes for the cookies this week, so stay tuned!

Besides raising money for a great cause, my favorite part of the day was meeting the people behind some of the blogs I follow! It was fun to hear people introduce themselves and then hear “OH my gosh, I LOVE your blog!” Too cute!!

Many thanks to the people who put this event together and the wonderful bloggers who participated! I’m looking forward to doing it again next year!

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