One of my closest friends, a tall Jewish red-head, has come back down to the motherland (Brooklyn) to celebrate Passover with her family.

We were discussing various dietary restrictions and how to make nontraditional meals without breaking the rules of keeping kosher. Somehow, this made me start thinking about my various dietary restrictions (no beef, no pork and no salt & meats on Thursday).

Then I got to thinking about her fiance, who is lactose-intolerant, a friend of my brother who cannot eat anything with wheat in it.

Now, tomorrow is Thursday, which means I don't eat anything with salt (until after 6 pm) or meat for the entire day. However, I also am going to a classmates home and I feel bad not bringing anything.

Enter shortbread.

It's a really simple basic recipe that is versatile enough to add stuff to without affecting the integrity of the cookie too much.

I made two kinds, an Orange Shortbread Cookie and a Chocolate Shortbread Cookie. The former is a recipe I found off the Internet, and I modified by substituting butter-flavored shortening for butter and added a whole lot more orange zest. The granulated sugar, was actually turbinado in this case and it added an richer sweetness to the cookie (in my opinion).

Now, the Chocolate Shortbread, well that was a work in progress. Not so much progress, as I didn't like the recipe I found and I thought I could do better. I take liberties with my baking now and again.

Here's the recipe I came up with:


3/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter-flavored shortening, sugar and coffee powder until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend until a soft dough forms. Add vanilla and mix well.

Using a teaspoon, measure out spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and pat down to resemble a flattened round cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle rack of your oven until the cookies are slightly puffed.

Remove from oven and cool completely before removing from the baking sheet. Store in a cool place or eat them right away with some espresso or just a good old fashioned glass of milk.

I like shortbread cookies because they are easy to make, and they taste good and in this case, my lactose-intolerant friends can have them too.

The kosher for passover stuff will be coming this weekend. ;)