Traditional Irish Shortbread with Drunken Apple Compote

For this recipe I wanted to find something that embraced Irish culture and was also easy and wasn’t potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, potatoes are great and basically the foundation of the entire Emerald Isle, but I wanted to create something different. What I came up with is traditional Irish shortbread with drunken apple compote over ice cream.  Irish shortbread, also known as butter cookies are super easy and tasty but often overlooked.  Originating from regions in both Scotland and Ireland, dating back to medieval times, these cookies were once considered a rare treat and expensive to make. These days, they are a go-to for an easy inexpensive dish to take to a family gathering or bake sale.  Incorporating a “drunken” element to this recipe only seemed natural. Here’s looking at you Saint Patrick’s Day.  I chose Smithwick’s Irish Ale, Ireland’s oldest ale as the base for the apple compote. The caramel and toffee notes in the red ale, combined with tartness of the apples are an unconventional combination that just seems to work, especially when topping a mild vanilla ice cream being accompanied by the buttery shortbread. This recipe looks and tastes complex, but is one of the most low maintenance desserts to keep in your back pocket for any occasion.

Traditional Irish Shortbread with Drunken Apple Compote

What you will need:

Irish Shortbread

Yield: 15- 4”cookies    Prep: 5-10 minutes Bake: 16 minutes

1C Irish butter (regular salted works fine)

1C sugar

2C AP flour

½ tsp sea salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, blend in flour and salt until dough forms naturally. Do not over mix.

Place dough on lightly floured counter or surface. Roll dough out and cut into preferred size squares.

Place squares on greased baking sheet.

Place in oven, cook for 16 minutes until done.

*Note: Do not overcook. Cookies will remain white when fully cooked. These cookies have no egg and therefore tend not to brown until it’s too late.

Drunken Apple Compote

Yield: Topping for 5 dishes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

1 11oz Smithwick’s Irish Ale

1 tsp white granulated sugar

3 green apples cubed & cored (peeled optional)

2 cups dark brown sugar

2 TBS Irish butter

½ tsp lemon zest

In a large pan melt butter on medium heat. Add apples to melted butter and toss to coat. Add cinnamon.

Cook for 5 min stirring occasionally. Add 2 oz (1/4 cup) of beer. Stir and bring to a slow boil. Add in 1 tsp white sugar. Stir. Add 2oz of beer. Stir. Reduce heat to simmer stirring occasionally for five minutes. Once apples are soft and brown, add 4oz of beer and bring back to a slow boil. Add brown sugar 1 cup at a time stirring in between. Reduce heat, and add remaining 3 oz of beer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and stir. Once it starts to thicken, remove from heat.  Add additional brown sugar to obtain desired thickness if necessary. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Scoop ice cream in dish. Top with cooled mixture & serve with prepared shortbread.

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