Which means that I've consumed close to 200 different baked goods in the last year and a bit. Probably not something to dwell on.
It's a funny old thing to have a blog like this. In some ways it seems to personal, like I'm talking to you all over a glass of wine or a coffee. But every time I post a recipe or tweet or upload a picture to instagram, I'm really making hundreds of little, and mainly unconscious, decisions about what I do and don't reveal and how I make sense of the jumble of thoughts in my head.
These thoughts have been jumbling around in my head for a while now. Today seemed as good a day as any to try and make sense of them.
I've been thinking quite a lot recently. And reading. And, obviously, eating. All of that thinking and reading and eating has made me more convinced than ever that the best way to eat is to eat simple, fresh and seasonal ingredients and to not monkey about with them too much. And as someone who has spent most of their life either on a diet or falling off a diet, I'm trying to think more about the value of foods beyond their calorie count.
All of that explains why I've been experimenting with different flours and sugars and anything else I can get my hands on in the last month or two. I used to, quite unfairly, be quite dismissive of the trend to eat 'whole grains' and their like but, during the course of my experiments, I realised one crucial thing - more natural, less processed food tastes better. I find the idea baking with plain flour and boring old caster sugar quite limiting now.
My ambitions for this blog remain the same really - to document my adventures and share with you whatever deliciousness I bake. I still don't plan to share anything that isn't worthy of that over-used description and I certainly don't plan on becoming any kind of 'healthy desserts blog' (for all that 'healthy' is a fairly loaded term anyway and I don't think is really appropriate in this instance but that's a whole other train of thought). There's still going to be plenty of butter and sugar around these parts but just in a way that makes more sense to me.
Speaking of which, let's talk about this shortbread. In some ways, shortbread is the ultimate baked good. It's the simple triumvirate of butter, sugar and flour. Nothing more (other than a pinch of salt if desired), nothing less. These are the building blocks for nearly every recipe you will see on this blog.
Basic shortbread is a 3-2-1 ratio of flour - butter - sugar. In this version, I used honey rather than sugar and whole wheat flour rather than plain flour which resulted in some slight adjustments to the ratio (honey, quite obviously, is liquid and is also generally sweeter than sugar). While the texture and the melt-in-the-mouth quality remain in this version, both the honey and the whole grains give a much more complex flavour than you get when using plain flour and white sugar.
So yes, this is where 200 posts have ended up. I don't really know how but I'm pretty happy about it. I honestly have no idea what the next 200 will bring.
Whole wheat honey shortbread
Yield: 8 large cookies
- 125g (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 45g (2 tablespoons) honey
- 150g (1 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour
- A pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and honey until well combined.
- Stir in the flour and the salt and, using your hands, gently gather the ingredients into a ball of dough without overworking the mixture.
- Press the dough into a the base of a springform tin. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm to the touch and golden brown. Remove from the oven and cut into triangles still in the tin. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring the pieces to a wire rack to cool.
- You can also roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut out shapes. If you do so, reduce the cooking time to 10-12 minutes.