Orange Zest Shortbread, & a peek into Christmas Gifts for Friends.

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“I want to love you all year long . . .
I want to hold you when the snow’s all gone . . .
(source)
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I want to be here when winter’s done . . .
I want to love you all year long.”
(source)
I’ve spent the past few days baking, being, watching snow fall, listening to the above mentioned album on repeat (sorry babe), and wrapping a few presents for friends. When I say presents, I mean the kind of present that you make (er, bake) because that is what your budget allows you to do & what you love to do. Bonus: getting to bake and not have it lying around the house for me to munch on and my savory-loving husband to watch me munch on.
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Summer tans & raspberry mojitos.
Pre-engagement & Salt Spring Island dinner dates.
Remembering the sun while watching the rain & snow . . .
Back to Christmas. Yes, it’s still almost upon us!!! I am so excited to be having a white Christmas this year. Back in Springfield, we rarely had a good snow that stuck to the ground without turning to slippy ice.
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SNOW!!!
What else went into these Christmas gift jars, you ask?
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Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti.
(incomplete without a sprinkling of sea salt)
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Apple Fritters.
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Peppermint Chocolate Marshmallows.
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Orange Zest Shortbread.
(my dear friend Heather is drizzling chocolate over them. Smart, lovely lady)
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& of course, candied almond & chocolate blondies (pictured in jar).Add these up, & it’s merry christmas in a jar.
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This was the first time I have ever made shortbread.Butter + flour + sugar = done. Simple simple! In the spirit of Christmas, I thought orange zest was appropriate & lovely. Rubbing the zest into the sugar before it is creamed into the butter allows the zest to release its fragrance & flavor more than if you simply just mixed it into the batter at the end of the mixing process.I’ll be posting recipes for all these treats throughout the rest of the week! But for now, get on the shortbread train.

Orange Zest Shortbread
makes approximately 24 bars, depending on size

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2-2 tablespoon orange zest
2/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks, melted over a double boiler (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place parchment paper in a 13 x 9 cake pan, or grease with butter. Sift together flour and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Rub orange zest into sugar until fragrant. Add sugar, and continue to beat until very light in color and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes more. Add flour mixture, and beat on low, scraping bowl if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed.

Pat dough into prepared pan. Use a paring knife to score dough into bars; prick all over in even intervals with a wooden skewer or fork.

Bake until firm in the center and just starting to color, about 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Melt chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water. Drizzle melted chocolate over shortbread with a fork until desired design or amount is applied. Once cooled a bit, cut into bars.

Cookies will keep, in an airtight container, at room temperature 3 weeks.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart
Listening to : Hey, It’s Christmas! Volume Three

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