Dark Days Challenge: Honey Shortbread with Strawberries

Happy 2nd Day of Spring!  At least now the season will match the warm weather we’ve had. There’s only one more week left of the Dark Days Challenge, a fitting change since my mom reported their rhubarb popped up this week. The dark winter days are on the way out. Before we all know it the farmer’s market will be full of goodies and we’ll be in the brightest days of local eating.

Today I thought I’d try my hand at one more entirely local dessert. The maple sugar candies from earlier in the challenge was my only sweet-tooth item posted during the challenge, so this time something fruity was in order.

And by that I mean a little bit of fruit with a reckless amount of butter.

Shortbread had to be among the original locavore desserts way back when grow-your-own was the only option. It’s so simple and can be adapted in hundreds of ways. I started from this recipe, but the basic shortbread formula has always been 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour. Adjust and create as you go.

Good shortbread is all about the butter–don’t skip with some watery chemically made mess. Get the real thing for shortbread. Add in whatever flour suits your fancy or your local region. All-purpose, rice, oat, nut flours all can be used in shortbreads. Then choose a sweetener. White sugar is tradition, but in this case I used local honey. Maple syrup would certainly do the trick also.

Bake it at a low temperature (avoids the butter from melting into a mess!) until it’s soooo warm and crumbly good ya’ can’t stand it. Cut it into wedges, top it with some fruit or nuts and you’re done. No fancy tools. No fancy tricks.

They’ve been making this stuff since the 12th century. Trust me and 800 years of shortbread history, you can’t go wrong with butter by the cupful.

Honey Shortbread with Strawberries


1 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
2 1/2 cups flour
frozen strawberries, thawed and drained

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Whip butter and honey with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, allowing dough to become smooth again before adding in the next 1/2 cup. Pat into an ungreased shortbread mold or a 9″ pie plate.
3. Using a knife, gently score the surface of the dough into wedges. A 9″ pie plate should be cut into 16 wedges. This will help in cutting the shortbread later.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until shortbread is just starting to brown. Do not allow to overgrown. Remove from oven and place pie plate on a wire baking rack to cool. After resting 10 minutes, cut the shortbread while still warm.
5. Serve topped with strawberries.


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