If you think was going to refrain from posting something about the World Cup, well you were wrong. All the talk around here in Australia- in the news, in the local pub and at water cooler has been the controversial loss of the Socceroos to Italy. We had come so far, only to have our World Cup dreams dashed in the last minutes by a dubious penalty decision. If we had been outplayed by Italy and went down fighting it would have been all right, if we had been beaten fair and square even in a shoot-out that would have been okay. The mere fact that our chances were ruined by very suspect and ambiguous refereeing is what is most devastating.
As someone who has only just jumped on the World Cup bandwagon, the sense of national pride and soccer fever has hit me hard. I find it happens every few years with the Olympics, when that overwhelming sense of patriotism envelops the country. What can I say, I am a proud Aussie. All I can say is the mood here for a lot of Soccer fans and bandwagon jumpers is bitter disappointment.
So to counter the sharp pain of defeat, I decided to make Melting Moments. It has nothing to do with soccer, or Australia for that matter, other than the fact that I see them sold at every cafe in Sydney. I never knew how they achieved that smooth, melt in your mouth texture and after some research on the Joy of Baking, I discovered that its secret came from cornstarch or cornflour. Instead of the traditional ball shapes I decided on little crescents, I guess if you wanted a correlation between the cookies and the World Cup, you could say they look like little frowns if you hold them upside down.
The cookies are fairly easy to make and I found using high quality unsalted cultured butter, usually the kind that does not contain any water is the best to use. Because cultured butter does not contain any water, it doesn't takes as long to soften to room temperature. Here is the recipe.
(makes 3 dozen)
1¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup cornstarch (cornflour)
¼ tsp salt
½ cup confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar)
1 cup high quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt, set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture in batches, careful not to over work the dough. Scrape the bowl down and place the dough in the refrigerator for one hour until it firms up.
When the dough firms, take it out of the fridge and knead briefly on a floured surface. Then form little crescents by taking a portion of dough then rolling it into a 5cm long rope. Gently roll each rope so that the tips are tapered and curve them slightly to resemble crescents.
Place the crescents on the baking tray, and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Using a sieve, dust the cookies with icing sugar.