Sometimes on especially cold days, I can't help but reminisce about the glories of summer. These mango shortbread bars served as my departure to a warm, tropical place. The original shortbread recipe comes from my very first cookbook "Butter, Sugar, Flour, Eggs" by Gale Gand - a great title and a great book about the main ingredients a baker cannot live without. The "Austrian raspberry shortbread" recipe of the butter chapter is one of my favorites from the book. You can tell because the book practically opens to this page. Though these are delicious with raspberry jam, you can substitute any jam or preserves for the filling. In this case, I made some mango jam with mango that I saved in the freezer from summer.
The baking powder in shortbread dough make the cookie a little lighter and the egg yolks make it even richer. The most unique step in this recipe that I have never seen in any other shortbread recipe is that the dough is first frozen, then grated into a baking pan, creating a much lighter and delicate cookie. Grating the dough by hand on a box grater is time consuming, I won't deny it, but it's something I've been doing with this recipe for the past couple of years. But for you lucky folks with a food processor, the grating can be done in less than a minute without any scraped knuckles. These are great paired with a cup of tea.
The recipe is slightly adapted from the original. I halved the sugar because the original recipe was much, much too sweet and I also decreased the butter and baking powder. The recipe can be halved and baked in an 8 x 8 pan.
Shortbread Bars with Mango Jam Filling
Adapted from Gale Gand
3 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
1 C sugar
4 C AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 to 1 1/2 C mango jam (recipe below) or your favorite jam or preserves
Powdered sugar for dusting
Cream the butter with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and egg yolks and beat (originally wrote cream but that was confusing) until evenly mixed.
In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this to the butter and mix until the dough comes together.
Divide the dough in half then in half again for 4 equal portions. Shape these pieces into a log shape for easy grating (and if you're using a food processor, make sure it can fit into the feed tube). Freeze the dough for at least 3 hours and it will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Working with 1 bar of dough at a time, grate 2 portions of the dough onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. I like to use a Pyrex pan so I can monitor the color of the bottom of the shortbread. You can line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper for easy removal of the cookies after baking but you won't be able to monitor the color of the bottom. Make sure the pan is evenly covered with pieces of the dough.
Using a spatula or the back of the spoon, spread jam evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 in border around the edges. Then grate the remaining half of the dough on top of the jam.
Bake on the middle rack until golden brown 30 to 40 minutes but I've had to bake longer sometimes. After baking, cool the cookie completely. Then dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars.
2 C mango cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp to 1/4 C sugar (or more depending on the sweetness of your mango)
1 Tbsp lime juice
In a nonreactive saucepan, sprinkle the sugar over the mango cubes and let the fruit macerate for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Add the lime juice and cook the mangoes until the liquid has evaporated and the fruit is thick and chunky. You can mash some of the mangoes if you prefer.
Keep this in the fridge and use on toast, in a baked good filling.
Day 1: White Chocolate Cashew Macadamia Butter Cookies