99 thoughts on “P & Q: Hungarian Shortbread

    • Yes I have read that many times concerning this recipe. They say to bake the bottom potion for 20 minutes even though the Baking With Julia recipe does not.

      • I read that too… could see the base being an issue so I baked the base first for about 15 mins, spooned on the jam and then grated the other half of the dough. Seems to have turned out fine and I have a crunchy base which is great.
        My one quibble about the recipe? The shortbread’s a little too sweet for my liking. Maybe the rhubarb helps to offset this but I don’t get rhubarb where I am so I just used a cup of blackberry preserves for mine.

      • I’m so glad that I read this before baking. I baked the bottom for 15 minutes, and then the 2nd layer for about 40. it stil came out with a bit of that uncooked cookie feel to it, but after it cooled, it was better. I dusted it and sliced it up this morning for the teachers at my daughter’s school to enjoy. No need to have more than one piece of this incredibly rich cookie.

  1. This is lethally DELICIOUS. Repeat…

    A few observations: It appeared like the bottom was not fully cooked. Which, for a moment, concerned me. But, I didn’t want to overbake it either. So, I didn’t put it back in the oven. I likened it to a cookie dough that one eats which is uncooked (and we’re still alive to tell about it). Bottom line: Not harmful. Some of the confectioners sugar appeared to melt. This is obvious, since you need to sprinkle it on the shortbread when it comes out of the oven. So, I just added more conf sugar.

    I made my own Strawberry Jam. OMG! So good. This shortbread was soft, moist and fabulous. My family RAVED about it.

    I love…when I love…a recipe.


  2. I tried finding fresh rhubarb this morning when I was grocery shopping but it’s not quite available yet in PA. My local farmers market said maybe next week. I found strawberry rhubarb preserves that I’m going to try.

    • I’m from PA too! I went to two Whole Foods and they didn’t have it yet. I talked to the produce guy and he said they’re having a hard time getting it in. Luckily, I found it at my local farmer’s market.

  3. I found fresh rhubarb at a higher end grocery store in town a couple of weeks ago, so I shouldn’t have any problems finding it again. I’m very excited for this recipe, and my dad is a huge rhubarb fan, so hopefully he’ll like it!

  4. I thought this recipe was ok. I really liked the technique of grating the dough in to the pan, but the baked shortbread wasn’t crispy or crunchy (like a traditional shortbread) for my taste. I think because of the inclusion of egg yolks in the dough. I found I had the bake it for an additional 15 minutes to get the golden brown color on top.

  5. I also looked for the rhubarb this last week at our local produce store and they told me it probably won’t be in for a week or two…will check back. I wanted to try it the first time with the ingredients it asks for…good to know the strawberry was a good substitution.

    • We are about a month away from in-season rhubarb up here – so I baked a batch with strawberry-rhubarb jam that I had over from last season. It came out really well (I also did a batch with Meyer lemon preserves that I had canned). I think this recipe lends itself well to lots of options…

  6. So far I have made the dough and I made 2 rolls and plan to grate it in the food processor. The dough is now in the freezer. Stay tuned on how it goes with the food processor.

  7. Mine has been out of the oven about an hour. I didn’t pre-bake the bottom layer but having read these comments I used my silicone tin and as I need to put it on a baking tray I pre-heated the baking tray so it would cook the bottom a bit more.

    That seems to have done the trick, the whole thing is cooked through. My icing sugar has gone a bit yellow from melting but tastes delicious.

    Only thing I would say is I had a lot of dough left over as it wouldn’t all fit in the tin. I’ve stuck it back in the freezer and will do some individual shortbreads with it.

  8. I just finished baking the shortbread. I pre-baked the bottom layer by itself for 10 minutes. I then finished the rest of the recipe and it looks really beautiful. I did use the grater on my food processor and that made lovely fluffy dough. I froze the dough for over an hour in 2 tube shapes so that they would fit through the tube of the food processor.

    I took some major liberties with the filling. I am a big fan of SaraBeth and used her rhubarb strawberry jam on half of the first layer of the shortbread and this is where Hungary meets Spain and Puerto Rico. I used guava paste on the other side.

    I thought this recipe was a breeze and I can’t imagine that it won’t taste great. I also cut back on the sugar by the way to 1 ½ cups since it has such a sweet filling.

    • More on the above. They have cooled and they are GREAT! Cutting back on the sugar was a good move and so was prebaking the bottom crust. They are so yummy it is unbelievable!!! It is very versatile and let your imagination take over when it comes to the filling. The guava was a good addition.

  9. I made this today and it tasted delicious, but it was very crumbly, didn’t really cut into a bar. I suppose I should’ve pressed down on it a little more. Did anyone else have that problem?

  10. I’m making it today, and I hate rhubarb. So does my family. I have a cherry preserve that I am going to use on one half, and lemon curd on the other half – I have to do something with the juice of the lemons I used for zest last week for the lemon loaf.

  11. i decided to par bake the bottom crust before adding jam and top part. put it in the oven for 20 minutes…not enough to brown it, but enough to make it “set”. i didn’t find rhubarb at the farmers’ mkt in my hood this weekend, so i used this as an excuse to help clear out the fridge and made it with storebought jam instead. becaue of this, i cut back on the sugar in the cookie dough a bit, and just used scant measurements. my bars are crisp and they taste great!

  12. Did anyone make the rhubarb filling? I am wondering if it is a sweet filling with the sweet crust or is it a tart filling with sweet crust. We don’t have rhubarb and wondering which direction to go in terms of filling. Any advice?

    • Gretchen, rhubarb is pretty tart and tangy on its own. Judging by the amount of sugar in the shortbread, I think the filling should be tart. That’s what I’m aiming for…tart middle, sweet crust. Check your local grocery stores for frozen rhubarb. It will work the same as fresh.

    • The shortbread was definitely sweet, which is why the recipe calls for rhubarb, which is very tart. I substituted orange marmalade and it paired beautifully with the crust.

  13. I’ve been unable to find fresh rhubarb here in north Florida, but I was able to find it frozen, which I believe will work fine. I’m making the jam right now and will store it. Plans tomorrow, so I’ll make the dough on Wednesday and assemble and bake on Saturday. I’ll report back on the weekend. I’m planning to keep the rhubarb jam on the tart side.

  14. I have a rhubarb plant in my garden that is read to pick. Thanks for the suggestions. I will par bake the bottom crust as suggested. Can’t wait for this one.

  15. What size pan are folks using? The recipe says 9 x 12 but I’m guessing that 9 x 13 will work fine. Also, I’d love to hear from someone who’s made the rhubarb jam filling…if you used a pound of rhubarb, did you have any left over or was it just the right amount?

  16. My sweet neighbor just called and said , “Come on over and get some rhubarb from my garden.” Perfect timing! Only thing is…my crew does not care for rhubarb. Im debating if I should use it or not. Does anyone have suggestions for a substitute . I thought of cherries.

  17. I made four changes to the recipe:
    1. I used the food processor to grate the dough. I am working to overcome that bit of my Yankee personality that believes that the harder way is always the better way.
    2. I lined the pan with parchment
    3. I par-baked the bottom crust for 15 minutes
    4. I used half blueberry-cherry preserves and half lemon curd for the filling.

    Yummy, yummy and will make again!

  18. I used the rhubarb, but the last 20% of the fruit in the filling ended up being strawberries,because I ran out of rhubarb (oops didn’t buy quite enough!). It turned out good but the layers were too thick for me. I love crunchy shortbread, and this just didn’t do it for me.

  19. I’ve made the rhubarb jam but ended up with too much water. Before spreading it out on the first layer I’ve put it into a sifter and got most of the water out.
    Then….I took some Strawberry jam (one I’ve bought) and spread on top of it….
    Now it’s in the oven and hope it will be fine…

    Guess what? I’ve again replaced a lot of butter with yogurth. Let see how it turns out.

    Question: Don’t you find there always sooo much butter in all these recipes?
    I’ve almost got an heart attack reading the ingredients of the Sticky Pecan Buns. I know we are not supposed to eat the whole “cake” but it is still soooo much!

    • I know! Crazy! I’m thinking of passing on the sticky buns because of the amount of butter. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not one to usually pass up on any sweets or bread/butter; but the amount in that recipe is too much even for me.

      • I’m thinking of not putting the extra butter into the sticky buns. it won’t be as good, but I”m sure nobody will know the difference.

      • Having made the sticky buns before, this is one recipe I would urge others not to pass on. You might be able to cut down the butter just a tad. Try using only two-thirds the amount called for when laminating the dough. And then you could likewise reduce the overall quantity of butter and sugar when lining the pans to bake.

        Made full strength, each of 14 sticky buns works out to 3 Tbs of butter, which considering their size is probably less than what you’d find in an equivalent weight of nearly any chocolate chip cookie.

    • its French – they are infamous for their use of butter…. just dont eat a lot if you are worried about it. and anything store bought tends to have worse things in it so this isnt too bad really.

  20. Tataaaa! Drummrolls!
    The shortbread is done and almost cold and it’s crust is cruncy even if lot of butter was substituted with youghurt!
    Yeah, now I can have 2 pieces instead of one …Or maybe 3 because I’ve reduced the sugar to 1 1/2 cup, too!
    Mmmmm yummy!
    Good night everybody – it’s 02:20 am here – See what all this baking does to me?

  21. Hi, it’s me again!
    …I swear, I’m not “stalking” you :-)

    If you don’t know what to do with the 4 egg whites left over from this recipe, have a look at page 37-38 or/and 395 : the meringue / cocoa meringue recipes in the book take exactly 4 egg whites…
    Now it’s up to you!
    Byebye … I’m running into the kitchen to preheat the oven!

  22. Meringues are the way to go. I was lucky enough that my husband had made almond meringues from a Spanish cookbook the day before and had saved the yolks for me and the shortbread bars.

  23. Caveat – for the rhubarb jam…I see above that someone ended up with jam with a watery consistency. I used frozen rhubarb, added some strawberries and candied ginger. I cut down the sugar by a small amount; however, I did not reduce the water. The jam is a little loose, so I may remake or do something to tighten it up before using it in the recipe. The taste is fantastic!

  24. Is anyone else having problems with getting all the dough into the pan? So much of it is finding its way into my mouth! I have always loved shortbread. Good thing I do not make it often. Usually only at Christmas.

  25. Fresh rhubarb found at Fairway, jam made and is has intense vanilla to contrast the tartness. Used the food processor to cream the dough and took longer and not as light as the mixer. Today we bake….. Thx for preheating pan suggestion I’ll try

  26. I wish I had checked in her *before* I made this last night! The bottom crust didn’t really set up too well. The end result tastes pretty good, though.

  27. I halved the recipe to make a smaller amount and cut the cooking time by about 5 minutes since the edges were going very dark. I “liberally sprinkled” the top with icing sugar but it melted into the top so the top is a weird consistency/ texture – looks not quite baked but I tasted it and it tastes great. Next time I would definitely roll out the shortbread – the press in method made for a too-crunchy (not crumbly) texture, at least in my opinion. A great idea though!

  28. Just made mine… use plum preserve as I dont get rhubarb in India.. baked the bottom for 15 mins.. and the end result was crumbly.. is that right?? or should it be crunchy?? am confused… just had a piece… buttery goodness I tell you!!!

  29. My fridge went out Monday- cant get new one delivered until tmrw (thanks, Sears!)! Food all in coolers & kitchen all in disarray. I am too flabbergasted to cook anything!
    Bah bah ……

  30. Just finished baking my first batch of these. I used a 10″ springform pan instead of the 13x9x2, so I will have 1/2 the dough left to make another pan of these later. Stuck to the recipe, except for the rhubarb jam to which I added some strawberries and candied ginger, which worked beautifully. Grating the frozen dough was an intriguing technique, and it seems to have worked fine. Waiting for these to cool completely before cutting and tasting

  31. OK, I totally don’t get the freezing/grating process. The dough was hard to shape into a ball, and then it crumbled when I tried to grate it. It seems like it would be easier to just to press it in the pan from the beginning.

    I didn’t have trouble with the shortbread being underbaked as some have reported. I didn’t prebake it, either.

    I’m not a rhubarb fan, so I used citrus marmalade, which worked great. It had just the right amount of tartness to offset the sweet shortbread.

    • Hi gaaarp,

      Yes, tough to grate. I put it through my food processor. Excellent results. No hassles.

      Secret to great shortbread: DO NOT PRESS it into the pan. Learned that from an instructor in a baking class I took some time ago.

      Next time I make this, I will put a little less dough on the bottom and instead put it on the top. This way, the bottom will bake through and through.

      Citrus marmalade sounds good!


  32. I agree with Carmen regarding not to press on the dough and grating the frozen dough with the food processor, which grated it in about a minute. It looked like fluffy snow.

  33. I made these years ago, cooking from Gail Gand’s cookbook and the results were soggy. This time I baked the bottom layer for 15 minutes, then spread Sarabeth’s jam on, covered that with the remaining grated dough. After 10 minutes of baking i sprinkled about 1/4 cup of sparkling sugar over the top. They are in the oven now, I’m hoping to avoid a soggy mess. Thanks everyone for suggesting to bake the bottom layer.

  34. Thanks to many of your comments, I plan to prebake the bottom crust for 15 mins, cut back the sugar in the dough, since I’m using jam, and grate the dough with the food processor. Now here is my pet peeve. There is no way in heck you can dust buttery, warm dough with powered sugar and have it look like fallen snow like it does in the picture on page 327. They had to have double dust that thing, once while warm , as per the instructions, and once while cooled for the optimum photo op. The second dusting would stick to the glaze created from the first dusting. That said, based on many of your comments, 2 dustings would probably make them too sweet. If you dust them once they cool, which I plan to do, you may want to offer this disclaimer: Caution, do not eat while wearing black.

    • I was surprised to see that the powdered sugar did not melt. Stayed great even after a few days. No need for a 2nd dusting. Also do not breath in when eating! :)

    • I used sparkling sugar on top while baking, and then I added more when the cookies were out of the oven. The cookies are very prettying taste wonderful.

      • Sorry, my iPad auto corrected me and I didn’t catch it: I meant to say the cookies are very pretty, and taste wonderful.

    • Julianne, absolutely right. Dusting with confectioners sugar right out of the oven melts the sugar. But, that’s the instruction. And, yes, they had to have repowdered for the photo op. :) Agree, a bit sweet…but, I like sweet…
      LOL. I’ll remember not to wear black when eating these. :)


  35. So, I bought vanilla beans..I know they are in my house somewhere but I cannot find them anywhere. How much vanilla extract should go in the recipe as compared to half of a vanilla bean?

  36. It’s twelve o’clock…it’s Tuesday but the LYL page isn’t there yet.
    What a pity!
    Well, if you’d like to visit me and see my photos, I’ll be honored to have you there.
    Good night from Switzerland !

  37. Warning….when attempting to taste your amazing shortbread creation be sure to have a glass of milk close at hand. A gallon might even be safer.

  38. Pingback: TWD:BWJ Hungarian Shortbread | My Daily Bread Body and Soul

  39. Pingback: TwD: Baking Hungarian Shortbread with Julia « Yummy Chunklet

  40. Pingback: Hungarian shortbread: getting a workout | Necessity is the Mother of Invention

  41. This was my first time joining the group – here’s what I did:

    baked half the recipe in an 8-inch square cake pan.

    mixed the dough in my stand mixer using a BeaterBlade attachment

    grated the chilled dough with the shredding disk of my food processor

    used sugar-free raspberry jam because I don’t like rhubarb

    lined my pan with a parchment sling for easy removal

    placed the baking pan in the lower third of the because many bloggers reported their bottoms didn’t bake through properly

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