I remember the first time I ever had shortbread cookies. They were made by a woman from Scotland who was a friend of my mother’s. I thought they were the most delicious cookies I had ever had. Tasting strongly of butter, with a texture that was tender and flaky, they simply melted on my tongue. I have tried on many occasions to duplicate those cookies. Somehow the ones I turn out fall just shy of the perfection I remember. Or is it that time has a way of altering our memories just a little?
Anyway, the recipe I’m sharing with you today is my go-to recipe for shortbread cookies. I like it because the dough can be made in the processor, thereby eliminating all that stirring and blending of butter with the flour /sugar mixture. An egg yolk, a little water, and almond or vanilla extract add just enough moisture to hold it all together. Once chilled it is easy to work with and rolls out easily, so it can be cut into shapes for whatever the occasion may be. Here, I cut heart shapes, and then to fancy them up for Valentine’s Day I added a strip of raspberry jam and a chocolate drizzle. Since raspberry and chocolate are a favorite combination, this works very well, and makes an attractive and tasty cookie.
SHORTBREAD CUTOUT COOKIES
YIELD: Makes about 3 dozen
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds**
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
** If you would prefer to eliminate the almonds, substitute 1/2 cup more flour.
To make cookies that look like mine you will also need:
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. In a food processor, combine the flour, almonds, sugar and salt; cover and process until almonds are finely ground. Cut butter into cubes; add to processor. Pulse on and off until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Combine the egg yolk, water and extract in a small bowl. With processor running, gradually add yolk mixture; process until dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. With the handle of a wooden spoon, or other small cylindrical object, make a depression diagonally across each cookie.
4a. Place the raspberry preserves in a microwave safe cup or small bowl, and stir in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil in the microwave: about 1 minute. Stir well and allow to cool.
Fill the indentation in each cookie with a small amount of the raspberry preserves.
5. Bake at 325*F. for 12 – 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks to cool.
6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring @ 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over each cookie. Allow the chocolate to harden before storing in an air-tight container.
SOURCE: Adapted from Taste of Home
Here are some more Valentine’s Day cookies that have been featured previously in this space.