Once upon a time a man who loved the land met a woman who loved to travel and cook. Together they created a harvest to feast dynasty in the heart of Boston. Chris Kurth is a farmer who plants rows and rows of gorgeous fruits, greens, and vegetables. He also makes the world a little better place with a healthy abundant August harvest of smiling sunflowers and a CSA membership offering a second to none taste of New England farm fresh produce. Ana Sortun is an adventurer, award-winning chef, and beloved restaurateur who introduced Turkish home cooking and middle eastern fine dining to Beantown. Chris provides Ana with some of the tastiest produce grown in America. Ana in turn cooks the cornucopia into what Alice Waters notes blends tradition with imagination. In her latest book, Soframiz, Sortun, dedicates over one third of the book to pastries and desserts. Lots of butter and sugar and traditional techniques, these Syrian Shortbread cookies are an adaptation of a bit of her culinary happily ever after.
The higher quality the butter, the better these cookies taste. Butter quality is determined by fat content and milk quality. The higher the fat percentage, the better tasting the butter. Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is easy to find in U.S. supermarkets and gives the cookies a gorgeous golden color.
To clarify butter: Place the butter in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Set the bag into a stockpot of simmering water. Once butter has melted, transfer the bag to the refrigerator with one corner of the bag at the bottommost position. It is helpful to chill the bag in an ice bath or container of water to help maintain the position.Once the clarified butter has solidified, take the bag out of the fridge, hold over a bowl, and snip the bottom corner to let the milk and solids drain into the bowl. Rinse the block of solidified clarified butter under a faucet for a few seconds; then dry to remove any remaining milk solids. Cut the butter into pieces for storage in the fridge or freezer, or melted down for immediate use.
1 cup clarified butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup jam
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar until just combined. The softness of the butter is very important: if it is too liquid, cookies will spread too much. What you want is beurre pommade, soft like a face cream. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
2. Return the sugar mixture to the stand mixer and, using a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy and has the consistency of whipped cream, 8 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight , or up to 1 week (remove from refrigerator an hour or two, until not too hard.
3. Use a 2 tablespoon scoop to shape the cookies. Place level scoops on a baking sheet two inches apart. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place a second baking sheet under each one to ensure even baking and prevent discoloration.
5. Remove the cookies from refrigerator, use the pointer finger to make small wells in the center of each cookie, fill with 1 teaspoon of jam, and bake until the cookies are cracked but no changed in color, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan—they are too delicate to remove until cool. Once the cookies are cool, a short stint in the refrigerator firms them up and makes them a wee bit less fragile. Serve at room temperature.