Holiday cookie magazines just intimidate me. I look at all those perfectly decorated cookies and I get overwhelmed. Oh, I buy them alright and read the recipes. Then I realize that many of my tried and true standby’s are just as good and maybe even better. Not fancy-dancy but homey and full of flavor and happy memories.
I did find one this year that intrigued me. It’s a smoky bacon ginger cookie that I must make. Bacon for dessert is clearly the new thing and this recipe just sounds fabulous. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
During the holidays my heart turns to Shortbread. Simple, only 5 ingredients, sweet, with endless variations and my dad’s favorite. His family came over from Scotland and Shortbread was always his go-to cookie. I think of him when I bake them and I like to think he would enjoy some of the variations I make. Simplicity is good and Shortbread is about as simple as you can get.
This is a wonderful recipe from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. What I love about this recipe is how well these cookies hold up. They aren’t too delicate and they ship well if you are sending cookies as a special gift to someone. Whenever I make them, I get raves! Make sure you try some variations, the candied ginger are my favorite!
By the way, I really do love and value your comments. Please feel free to leave one for me if you like what you see! I also love to hear about how a recipe turned out for you. So, comment away!
Kitchen Princess Shortbread Hearts – Ingredients
Makes about 24 hearts
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Kitchen Princess Shortbread Cookies – Method
Preheat your oven to 350
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined.
- Add the vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt and add them to the butter and sugar mixture.
- Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
- Dump onto a flour-dusted surface and shape into a flat disc.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 3 inch cookie cutter. I use a heart shaped one.
- Place the hearts on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
Kitchen Princess Shortbread – Variation
- One batch shortbread dough
- Good raspberry jam or preserves
When you are cutting out your cookies, let’s say you are using a round cookie cutter, cut out half of the cookies whole and for the other half, cut a shape out of the middle. It can be a smaller circle or a little star or heart or whatever you’d like.
Now, spread the raspberry preserves on the flat side of the solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners sugar and press the flat sides together making a cookie sandwich with the raspberry preserves in the center and the confectioners sugar on top.
- To the butter and sugar in the above recipe, add the vanilla and also 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract.
- Sift together the flour and salt and add them to the butter and sugar mixture.
- Add 1 1/2 cups pecans, diced small, and continue with the recipe.
- Roll out and cut into whatever shapes you like.
- Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until edges begin to brown.
- To the basic shortbread recipe, add 3/4 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger.
- Roll out and bake.
Chocolate dipped Shortbread
- Melt a cup of chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler.
- Dip half of your shortbread hearts in the chocolate. Let the excess drip off.
- Place hearts on a sheet of wax paper and let them dry.
- Store in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper between the layers.
- Be creative! Add spices (cinnamon or curry would be nice), different nuts, maybe dried cranberries chopped up fine.
- Dip half of each shortbread in white chocolate and drizzle with dark.
- Chill the cut out cookies for 10 minutes before you bake them for a sharper edge.
- Shortbread can be cut into shapes and refrigerated for up to a week and then baked the day you want to serve them.
- For extra flavor, roast your pecans on a baking sheet at 350 for 8 minutes before chopping them up.
- Happy baking!