In this week's Chef and Tell interview with Doug Anderson, the chief baker and owner of Hi*Rise, he talks about everything from his mother's epic cinnamon rolls to baking bagels at Moe's in Boulder, where he churned out more than 300-dozen bagels a day -- just for the University of Colorado. He still bakes his own bagels -- and a whole lot of other things, including shortbread cookies, the recipe of which he shares here.
"This is my favorite shortbread cookie recipe, cobbled together from a few that I liked," says Anderson. There are only four ingredients, he notes, and no baking powder or baking soda. "The cookies rise as the water in the butter turns to steam, and the whole kitchen smells of butter." The trick to shortbread, he adds, is in the chilling.
Hi*Rise shortbread cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature 1 cup white sugar (superfine, if possible. *See note) 2 teaspoons kosher salt 4 cups all purpose flour
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1. Using a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and mix together until smooth. 2. Blend the salt and flour together and add 1 cup at a time to the butter mixture. After each addition, stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. After all the flour is added, continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes, and finish by using the rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl. The dough should be smooth and soft. 3. Lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Turn the dough into the pan. Using lightly floured fingertips press the dough evenly into the pan. TIP: Use a clean, floured soda can as a small rolling pin. Get the dough as flat and level as you can. 4. Chill the dough for 5 to 10 minutes in the refrigerator. 5. Using a sharp knife, score the dough almost all the way through into approx 2x2.5-inch bars or into an even 3x4 grid. Use a fork to pierce each bar so that it looks like a No. 3 domino. 6. Chill the dough again for at least one hour. 7. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut through the scored lines of the chilled dough and place the bars on the cookie sheet. 8. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cookies are set and just barely browned. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool.
* Note: Superfine sugar is very finely granulated, but not powdered. You can substitute regular sugar, or pulse regular sugar in a food processor a few times to make it finer.