Almond-Filled Shortbread

almond-filled-shortbreadShortbread filled with almond paste? Yes, it is just as delicious as it sounds.

While experimenting with raspberry-filled shortbread last weekend, I decided to take the advice of the incredibly talented bakers at King Arthur Flour and fill my second shortbread round with almond paste. The result is a sturdier cookie than the jam-filled variety, and now I have to wonder…what would happen if I put both almond paste and jam into the same shortbread round? We’ll save that experiment for another day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces flour (about 2 1/3 cups; I used a food scale to measure mine)
  • 1 cup almond paste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla, then beat in flour.

Divide dough into four pieces, about 6 ounces each (I’d recommend 5.7 or 5.8 ounces each to divide as evenly as possible).

Place an 8-inch round cake pan upside down on your counter top and cover with plastic wrap. Press one portion of dough onto the plastic wrap, covering the bottom of the pan completely – you’ll need to be careful, as the dough can tear as it stretches. Wrap the circle of dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate while repeating this step with each remaining portion.

Gently knead your almond paste, then divide it into two portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your paste into a circle about 7 1/2 inches wide.

Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans; remove dough circles from the fridge. Peel plastic wrap off the first circle of dough and press into the bottom of one cake pan; top with almond paste, leaving about 1/2 inch bare border around the edges. Top with another circle of dough and gently press the edges to seal them. Prick all over with a fork all the way through each layer. Repeat with the third and fourth circles of dough in the other pan.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and loosen the sides with a knife, then cool in pans for 10 minutes.

Carefully turn the shortbread out onto two cutting boards and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges. I cut mine into 16 wedges each for slimmer slices.

Makes 32 wedges.

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