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Goat Butter Shortbread

Written By Culinary Pen on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | 6:42:00 PM

When it comes to goats, the goatier the better. I've found that I like goat's milk cheeses (and plain old goat's milk) that has a distinctive "goat-y-ness." There's just a wonderful taste of lemon peel, straw, lactic acidity, and herbal grassiness to goat's milk that I really enjoy. From what I've read, this difference in flavor is from both the breed of goat (some have fattier milk, which is carries a more pronounced flavor) and the cultures used to create the cheese. It does also deal with what the animal was eating (grass and herbs versus grain and silage), but if the milk has been pasteurized you'll lose most of those nuances.

Carla spotted some goat's milk ice cream last weekend, made by Laloo's. We were torn between the strawberry flavor and black mission fig, but found shared ground in a pint of the dark chocolate. It was very tasty ice cream, with a mild goaty flavor. But it only tasted like goat's milk when it began to warm up and melt a bit.

Like a burr in the hide of a billy goat, the notion of a goaty dessert stayed with me. Considering that fat enhances so many flavors, it seemed reasonable to think that's goat's milk butter would intrinsically carry a distinct goatiness. And when butter is in question, what dessert is more purely buttery than a perfect shortbread cookie? It is the cookie to make when you want to exalt the delicious luxury of eating exceptionally exquisite butter.

So I made up a batch of goat's milk shortbread, which is little more than cool butter beaten into sugar, then thinned out with flour and the faintest hint of vanilla. No nuts or dried fruits to mask the butter here! I didn't deviate from my usual recipe (thanks King Arthur Flour!), but I noticed these goat's milk cookies came out much darker than usual. I'm glad I checked them early, otherwise they may have gotten a bit too dark.

Upon tasting, I'd give myself a "B" for the success of these cookies in capturing the goaty flavor I was looking for. They were delicious cookies, but I only seemed to get a goat's milk flavor towards the finish, once I had dissolved the cookie a bit in my mouth. It reminded me of the fleeting porkiness in my Bacon Fat Gingersnaps. I think I could bring this flavor forward by topping them with a thin layer of cream icing that I'd whip some fresh chevre into. This first attempt was iced with a simple sugar glaze infused with hibiscus petals. Simple, floral, and sweet. Or I could move on and try my backup recipe...mincemeat pie with diced goat suet...
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