Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookies

Somehow, January has nearly slipped right by me.  It wasn’t until today that I realized we will soon be entering the ever so cold month of February, (as if it hasn’t been ever so cold already) and soon Cupid will arrive with his love potion filled arrows.

Last year, in honor of what is suppose to be one of the most romantic days of the year, I made several delicious treats leading up to the big day.  I kicked off the celebration with Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.   Then came the Chocoholic Cupcake, the Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles, and let’s not forget the Valentine Cream Wafer (Heart) Cookies.  

I decided to start this years celebration off with one of my most favorite cookies ever.  The Simple & Sweet Shortbread Cookie.  These cookies are melt in your mouth perfect.  Butter, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt and a touch of vanilla.  That’s it – so simple, so sweet!

SIMPLE & SWEET SHORTBREAD COOKIES

2 sticks of butter, room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for rolling

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Cream ingredients together; add flour.  Continue to mix ingredients until everything is blended.  Form dough into a ball. 

Place a dough on a piece of parchment paper that is coated with a light coating of powdered sugar.  Roll dough out until it is about 1/4” thick. Use more powdered sugar if needed.  Cut out cookies using a cookie cutter.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2” apart.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Do not over bake.  They will firm up after removing them from the oven.  Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet before moving them.

If you want to spruce your cookies up, roll the edges in a thin butter cream icing and then coat the edges with some colored sugar.   

I couldn’t resist sneaking this cute little (like new) tea cup from Teavana into this picture.  I found it at a local thrift store for 30 cents.  That’s my kind of bargain!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romance.  It can simply be about kindness.  Make a batch of these delicious cookies, pair them with a pretty tea cup or coffee mug, and give them to someone that’s deserving this Valentine’s Day.

I’m planning on sharing my cookies at one of my favorite hangouts – BeBetsy.  Make sure you check out their great site because there is something there for everyone.

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Skinny Mini’s

I have a proclamation to make.  I have fallen head over heels for mini desserts.  And let me tell you why – they are so stinkin cute, you can eat more than one and NOT feeling guilty, and they are darn tasty. 

I recently received some mini dessert dishes from Libbey Glass and I’m going to put them to the test.  I wanted to blossom my creativity a little and these little beauties have given me the incentive to do just that.

The first dessert I came up with is made with sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  HOLD ON!  DON’T LEAVE!  You are going to want to see this, even if it’s just out of curiosity.   

I wanted my first mini dessert to be simple, low calorie, and for a more mature audience.  Wait until you see how I adultified (new word) it.   

Please allow me to introduce … Skinny Mini’s.  A raspberry (sugar-free) gelatin topped with Mascato infused whipped cream and mini vanilla shortbread bites.

As for the taste, I ate three of them just while I was taking pictures.  When I made that announcement to my husband he laughed at me and tried to tell me that making mini’s means you ration yourself.   Nah… I don’t think so.  Not when you are talking about sugar-free gelatin, a tiny dollop of whipped cream, and a bite sized shortbread cookie I quickly retorted. 

To make Skinny Mini’s you will need (per my suggestion) one box of twelve Libby Flare Dessert Dishes and mini spoons (they are sold as a package). 

You will also need one small box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  Prepare the gelatin following the instructions on the box and divide it equally into the dessert glasses.  Refrigerate until firm.

Mini Vanilla Shortbread Bites

1 stick of chilled margarine

1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until creamy. Add sifted flour, and mix until batter holds together. Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet making a square about 5”x 5”. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Use a mini cookie cutter to cut baked cookie dough; set aside.

Mascato Infused Whipped Cream

1/2 c. of heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of white Mascato wine

1/2 tbsp. of granulated sugar

Place heavy cream and sugar in a chilled bowl and mix with electric mixer until cream thickens into whipped cream.  Slow drizzle the wine into the whipped cream while the beaters are going.. Using a pastry bag squeeze whipped cream on top of each gelatin dessert.  Place a mini shortbread bite on top of  each dessert topped with whipped cream; garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Now, enjoy!

How could you possibly feel guilty indulging in these?  Really…

While Libbey did provide me with these mini dessert dishes, I was not compensated for this post, and the opinions contained herein are my very own.

December’s Cookie of the Month

December tends to be  busy month for most people.  There is   shopping, gift wrapping, baking, and celebrating to do, among other things.

With a hectic month like this, and since I’ve been on a shortbread cookie kick lately, I decided to share a simple recipe with you to finish off  The Joy of Caking’s Cookie of the Month series.

These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious and will pair well with a fresh cup of coffee.  In other words, you might resort to making these just for a little self-indulgence.

Kahlua Chocolate Shortbread Bars

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c.  granulated sugar

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melt

1/3 c. baking cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. Kahlua

1/4 tsp. salt

2 – 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, with electric mixer, beat margarine, butter, sugar, melted chocolate chips, and baking cocoa.

Add vanilla, Kahlua, salt, and flour; mix completely.

Spread dough out onto prepared cookie sheet shaping into a rectangle (about 1/4”) thick.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into center.

Allow cookies to cool completely and drizzle melted chocolate on top to finish them off!

I hope you enjoyed The Joy of Caking’s Cookie of the Month series.  If you didn’t happen to catch all the recipes you can find them below.

September’s Cookie of the Month – Walnut & Cappuccino Chunk.

October’s Cookie of the Month – Shortbread Sprinkles.

 

November’s Cookie of the Month –  Chocolate Chip Shortbread.

 

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Get out your sifters for these shortbreads

I’ve been in search of a shortbread cookie recipe that I can actually say reminds me of  Panera Bread’s. Will this be the one?

I recently made a recipe for shortbread cookies that one of my blog visitors recommended.  This shortbread cookie recipe came from Kari’s Cooking.

I did modify Kari’s recipe slightly by adding 1/2 teaspoon more of vanilla extract than her recipe called for, along with a dash of salt.  And since I didn’t have cake flour I used (sifted) all-purpose flour.  I also sifted the confectionery sugar the recipe called for.  Kari’s recipe is very close to a recipe I also found in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.  Good Housekeeping’s recipe calls for 1/4 cup less sugar, and the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

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Since this recipe was so simple to make I mixed my batch by hand.  I originally wanted to roll the dough out and use cookie cutters but  once everything was mixed I realized that wasn’t going to happen;  the dough was quite sticky.  So instead, I spread the dough out into an ungreased cookie sheet.  (I didn’t use the whole pan since I wanted a thicker cookie.)  I started at one end of the pan and spread the dough out to a point that suited me.  I used a piece of plastic wrap to smooth the top of the dough – no sticky fingers that way. Lastly, I generously pricked the top of the dough full of wholes with a  fork prior to baking. 

The dough rose perfectly while baking and I used my pizza cutter to cut the bars immediately after taking them out of the oven. To finish them off I drizzled a thin buttercream icing on top.

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These cookies are very good, the texture is nice, they are buttery rich as expected, and they turned out beautiful.  There is no doubt they go down easy and I certainly would encourage anyone who likes shortbread cookies to make a batch, or two.

Maybe the cake flour is the secret?  Or maybe my taste buds are playing tricks on me but I didn’t taste Panera shortbreads in this recipe.  That’s okay though.  These cookies are still very good and I will make them again.

To see how this quest started, and if you like sugar cookies, see my post Have a heart – cookie that is… 

I’d love to hear from anyone who tries this recipe.  Come on, chime in!

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