And then, almost whole year later...
Food-related things have gotten a lot more interesting in the past few months, and that's very exciting, not only because I'm eating well and learning about new foods and preparation techniques, but also because it's sparked my interest in writing again. Double bonus!
Everyone's pretty sick of eating baked goods and chocolate around the office, so when a coworker's birthday rolls around, it's a creative challenge to come up with savory twists on sweet themes.
The theme for this morning's birthday party is Candy Land (a la Katy Perry), and my contribution to the spread is Maple Bacon Fun Dip with Rosemary Shortbread Dip Sticks. Bacon Fun Dip (aka Bacon Lik-M-Aid) started as a great idea from the culinary mind of Jonathon Zellar . I made it my own by whizzing well-cooked bacon with large granules of maple sugar in the food processor. It's crunchy, only the tiniest bit sweet, and best of all, it sticks to the shortbread sticks after you lick them - just like the real thing. Double dipping is strictly prohibited.
I adapted the Rosemary Shortbread recipe from Epicurious.com. The original is here, and following is my rendition.
3/4 sticks (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8 in. x 8 in. square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat butter and maple syrup with sugar until creamed together. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and dried rosemary. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined.
Dump mixture into prepared pan. With floured hands press dough evenly into pan. Score dough into 4 in. x 1/2 in. pieces. Bake shortbread in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until pale golden, and let stand in pan for 5 minutes. While shortbread is still warm, loosen edges from pan with a small knife and invert onto your hand covered with a kitchen towel. Invert shortbread onto a cutting board and cut through scored lines to make sticks.
Makes 32 shortbread cookies.