Wednesday, July 20, 2011

{ A Sweet Summer Treat - Raspberry Sorbet and Citrus Shortbread }

We had some friends over for dinner on Tuesday. We don't normally have guests on week nights, so this was a special occasion leaving me to prepare for our guests. If you know much about me, you know that Kyle usually does a lot of the cooking and is no slouch when it comes to cleaning around the house. But I'm proud to say that I pulled most of it off by myself. Kyle got the bean salad together and steamed the broccoli, but I did everything else and got to flex my culinary muscles.

The Six O'clock Scramble and I do all of the meal planning, even if Kyle does the cooking and baking a lot of the time, so it was fun to pick out a dessert and execute it myself. What did I choose? Homemade raspberry sorbet and citrus shortbread, delicious. I mean it, if you try one new cookie recipe this summer it must be this citrus shortbread. Read on and I'll share the links to the recipes I used and the tips I learned making them.

First I made the shortbread. I found the recipe here on Jane's Sweets and Baking Journal. The ingredients are super simple and they make an amazing shortbread. They were great with the sorbet, even better with my afternoon coffee and I'm planning to make a batch to gift with some homemade strawberry jam to my 90 year old neighbor who is a shortbread aficionado. Really, I can't rave enough about these cookies.

1/3 c powdered sugar
zest of one lemon, chopped
zest of one orange, chopped
1/2 c butter, room temp
1 c + 2 tblsp all purpose flour (she used bleached, I used unbleached)

Now, when I read this I had to Google what exactly chopped zest was because we always "zest" with a grater. So let me share with you, you don't need a zester. In fact, we have one from Williams and Sonoma and we've never figured out how to use it correctly. In my Google research I found out that a sharp vegetable peeler or knife would work fine. I used a sharp knife.

This second picture is to show you what a bad zest and a better zest look like. The zest on the left has a lot of white, if possible you don't want any white stuff - I'm pretty sure they called it pith. You can see that the zest on the right is a better looking specimen. I'm not so handy with a knife and this was the closest I could get to an ideal zest.

Once I had my zest, I took the chefs knife and chopped it up for a lovely bowl of lemon and orange zest.

That's the hardest part of the recipe. For the details of putting the rest together in the mixer, click here to go to Jane's post. Another detail that you may want to know is that the dough does not need to be refrigerated, so as soon as you've mixed it all together you can move right on to cutting your cookies.

Phoebe and I chose flowers, she had a blast helping me cut them out. A faster way to get pretty cookies would be to use a cutting wheel with a zig zag shape (like a pizza cutter type deal, play dough has them and I know that baking stores do too) and cut a big grid for square cookies. Using cookie cutters was a fun Phoebe and Momma activity though and they turned out cute.

The speckles are the chopped zest

Besides cute, did I mention delicious?

On to the raspberry sorbet. I wanted to use raspberries because they are in season right now and fresh raspberries are the bomb diggity (that's right, I said bomb diggity).

I found this raspberry sorbet recipe on the Saveur magazine website. Ingredient wise it's pretty simple:

1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 lb raspberries (about 5 cups)
2 tblsp lemon juice (I used one lemon)

Now prepping it with two screaming little girls is another story altogether, but you get the picture.

You'll need an ice cream maker for this recipe. They also tell you to "sieve" the raspberry puree, I just pushed it all through my mesh strainer. I don't know what a sieve is or how to sieve, but my strainer keeps the seeds out and the good stuff in just fine (sorry I don't have a picture, I was in a hurry by this point).

The sorbet was really good, but the cookies were to die for. So if you choose to only make one of these make the cookies, if you like shortbread you will not regret it. Altogether though, I think the pairing made a nice dessert.

What was the last dessert you made? Would you make it again? I would so make this again.

Somewhat Simple

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