Saturday, August 29, 2009
I have a secret love for shortbread, all that buttery melt-in-the-mouth texture and that hint of salt, which I believe makes it so addictive. If this wasn't enough, I decided to fill these little guys with japanese azuki bean paste before baking.
Perfect and incredibly addictive!
Japanese Azuki Butter Cookies
200 g of plain flour
50 g of powdered sugar
3 pinches of baking powder
125 g of salted butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp of ice cold water
Mix the flour, powdered sugar and baking powder. Add the vanilla and the butter (cut in small pieces).
With a spatula, work the butter into the flour, until it all looks grainy (no more visible chunks of butter). I always get better results when doing it by hand.
Add the cold water and shape a ball. Do not overwork the dough! Just work it until you can form a ball and the dough doesn't crumble. If necessary, add a bit more water (1 teaspoon at the time).
Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. You can also leave it in the fridge, but take it out 15 minutes before using, or it will be hard to work.
1 cup of dried azuki beans
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
Soak the beans in plenty of water for 10 to 12 hours.
Put the beans in a pan, cover with water, add sugar and salt and start cooking. You will have to add water as it cooks, but just enough to keep the beans covered until they are nice and tender.
Let it cook a little more (without adding water) just until you get a thick paste (enough to shape a ball).
Shaping the cookie...
I suggest dividing the dough into little walnut size balls and shaping an equal amount of bean paste balls (should be smaller) before starting to put everything together.
Take a little ball of dough , flatten with your hands into a small disk and put a little ball of bean paste in the middle. Close the dough around the paste and shape it all into a nice ball with a flat base (very much like the final cooked cookie pictured above).
Lightly run a fork on top of each cookie before cooking.
Lay on a very lightly oiled tray and cook at 170 degrees celcius 15 to 20 minutes (don't let them brown!).
With time, you can adjust the thickness of the cookie and the amount of azuki paste you like in it.