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Poppy Seed Shortbread

These are not too sweet, are lower fat than most of my cookies, and keep very well.  The base recipe is also strong enough to encompass many variations, and the combination of poppy seeds and not too sweet cookies is incredibly popular, especially when it's tea time or coffee break. 

Sheets lightly greased         Oven 300/250 degrees F       Time 35'

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Mill together:*
  450 grams soft wheat
  150 grams rice

OR use

         4 cups unbleached or whole wheat pastry flour
         3 cups unbleached or whole wheat pastry flour PLUS 1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter

1 cup buttermilk   

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Beat in the butter until the mixture is fine and crumbly.  Add the milk and water to texture.

Pat dough into 4-6 inch circles, 1/4 inch thick, directly onto the baking sheets.  Cut wedges into the dough.  

Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes then drop heat to 250 degrees for an additional 10 minutes until cookies are just becoming firm on top.  With a spatula, divide them at the pre-cut wedge marks and lay on racks to cool.   They will firm up as they cool.

Variation:  Coconut Biscotti

Lightly toast 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.  Skip the poppyseeds.  Mill 1/2 teaspoon mahleb seeds and 2 teaspoon mace pieces with the flour.  Otherwise prepare as above, until shaping:  Shape the dough into 3 logs, about 10 inches by 3 inches by 1 inch high.  Bake 350 degrees 10 minutes, then drop temp to 250 degrees and bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool briefly until cool enough to handle, slice 1/2 inch thick, and return slices, cut sides up, to the oven for another 45 minutes, until light and crisp.

Variation:  Lemon Anise Biscotti

Skip the poppyseeds.  Mill the grains with 2 teaspoon anise seed and 1 teaspoon dried peppermint or spearmint leaf, or add 2 teaspoon ground anise seed and the peppermint to the flour mixture.  Use 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar to lighten the flavor and let the lemon shine through.  Add the zest of 4 lemons with the dry ingredients.  Juice the lemons and add enough milk to total 1 cup liquid.   Blend, shape, bake as above.

Variation:  Lemon-Poppy Biscotti

Like above, but with the poppyseeds, and a happy combination it is.  Mill the grains with 2 tsp anise seeds, 6 long peppers or 8 black peppercorns (this is not enough to make them hot but does round the flavor a bit), and about 20 pods of cardamom or 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds; or add 2 teaspoons ground anise seed, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.  Add the zest of 4 medium lemons to the dry mixture.  Juice them  and add enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid.  Blend, shape, bake as above.

Variation:  Cinnamon-Mace Poppyseed Shortbreads

Mill the wheat with 1-2 inches of cinnamon stick, 2 whole pieces of blade mace; increase poppyseeds to 1 C; increase butter to 1 cup; juice 2 lemons and add milk to total 1 cup of liquid and curdle the milk, in place of the buttermilk.  Prepare as for basic poppyseed shortbread recipe.  

Makes 4 dozen cookies @ 80 calories:
     33    % fat        63% carbos          6  % protein

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