Recipe Review: Ovenly’s Stumptown “But I don’t want to” Shorty

Tonight at roughly 6:30, I got the classic “Tomorrow is Monday” stomachache.

The pit in your stomach, knowing that tomorrow you have to pull yourself up, wear clothes that aren’t sweatpants, and do things that aren’t first, second, or third on your list of fun things for at least ten hours. And then repeat that four more times.

Make no mistake, she just finished openly wailing.

When you experience the “Tomorrow is Monday” stomachache, you have a couple options on how to tackle it:

  1. Openly wail until you get to your office the next morning.
  2. Realize that having a job is just part of growing up, and accept the fact that pouting won’t help or change anything.
  3. Fake your death. Go on the run.

Considering my neighbors that have expressly asked me to cut it with the open wailing, my refusal to believe that pouting won’t eventually do something, and being out of fake blood, I had to figure out option 4.

I went with the always healthy method, distraction. I decided to make the “I just cleaned my kitchen, so I’m not burning sugar, but there’s no time that’s a bad time for shortbread” version of Ovenly’s Stumptown Shorty.

Who can be sad about Monday when you could bake instead? Yes, you’ll only postpone the weeping by an hour, but you can weep into your baked goods.

The regular recipe calls for tiny burnt sugar bits mixed into your dough. Having made this recipe once before, the caramelized sugar adds a nice flavor/texture combo, but like I as the title of my recipe says, I just cleaned my kitchen. I’m not burning sugar. Sorry, team! No house-fire-potential this time!

The thing I always forget about shortbread is, at its essence, it’s flour, sugar, and butter. That’s a hard sell in the health department, but as I was kerplomping (the actual sound a stick of butter makes when it lands on other butter) THREE sticks of butter into a mixing bowl, I was a little horrified.

The building blocks: (You could follow the ingredients included in the previous link, OR you could follow these. Ingredients for normals, I say.)

  • 3 sticks of unsweetened butter, plus some other butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar Basically a cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold-brew coffee (We’ll learn soon that “cold” is up for debate)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons very finely ground espresso  half a cup of coarsely ground coffee that you already have in your kitchen

Yes, I sure did avoid messing up my clean kitchen.

What should have happened…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the sugar and the butter. Keep an ear out for the aforementioned kerplomping.
  3. Slowly mix in the cold brew to the butter mixture
  4. Whisk together the flour and the ground basically-espresso
  5. Mix in half of the flour mixture until incorporated. Mix in the other half.
  6. Spread the dough on a greased baking sheet.

What happened…

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (YES! DONE!)
  • Mix together the sugar and the butter. (Kerplomped as promised!)
  • Realize that you haven’t made the cold brew, so you throw some coffee grounds and water into your french press. Don’t check the ratios! That’s for squares! Put the french press in the refrigerator, and decide that it will be cold enough by the time you whisk together the flour and the ground coffee. (Yes. This is fine.)
  • Whisk together the flour and the ground coffee. (DONE! I AM GREAT AT THINGS!)

I’m just really great at baking.

  • The cold brew isn’t ready. You then make space in the freezer, and decide the time it takes to grease the pan will allow it to get cold enough. (I crunched the numbers. It pans out.)
  • Grease a baking sheet to use once the dough is ready.
  • The cold brew still isn’t ready. It’s actually still hot. It’s hot brew. I have hot brew coffee. (Basically the same as cold brew. As Paul Abdul says, “Opposite attract are the same.)
  • I decide to just go for it, and add the hot brew to the butter mixture. (Nope. Nope. This is not fine.)
  • Watch as the butter mixture loses all structural integrity, and say to yourself, “this will be fine.” (I wonder if I should worry about how easily I lie to myself.)
  • Throw the flour mixture in there before you actually have to look at the disaster your butter has turned in to. (This fixes everything!)
  • Slowly mix the flour and butter mixtures.
  • Once mixed, spread evenly over the baking sheet. (This actually looks pretty good.)

And that, my friends, is the designated spot for the snowman spatula.

  • Scrape the batter back into the mixing bowl so you can work in the extra, while also not at all extra, but in fact very required flour.
  • Spread dough over baking sheet. You’re really good at it from that other time where you go to practice.
  • 16. Pop it in the oven!

It couldn’t be easier!

Review: Even my cliff-notes version of this recipe is really very tasty. It’s a nice dessert or an afternoon snack. With my last batch, I crumbled it and served it on ice cream.

I do kind of miss the burnt sugar, but isn’t that a tale as old as time? Made coffee shortbread to distract myself from having to go back to work, but because I don’t want to dirty more dishes, I didn’t burn the sugar for the recipe and now I regret it. If I only had a nickel….

Bonus: If we’re being honest with ourselves, my blog is 80% driven by recipes that go wrong. Earlier today I made what might be the prettiest thing my kitchen has ever seen.

Most food bloggers take beautiful pictures that can be easily pinterested (pinned? I don’t know. At 28 I’m almost 75). As a more nebulous blogger, I like to think I bring an extra element of dirty stove and trying my best to the table.

If you need any dinner ideas, may I recommend one pot lemon chicken and rice?

  1. It tastes fancy.
  2. It looks fancy.
  3. You can cook it in one pot.
  4. When you’re working with these ingredients, the recipe is yours to ruin.

These are beautiful things.


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