Shortbread Heart Cookies

Shortbread Heart Cookies

Shortbread Heart Cookies

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?

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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  Heart Cookies

Shortbread Heart Cookies

SHORTBREAD CUTOUT COOKIES

YIELD:   Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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.

Cut into desired shapes

Cut into desired shapes

4.  With the handle of a wooden spoon, or other small cylindrical object, make a depression diagonally across each cookie.

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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.

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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.

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SOURCE:  Adapted from Taste of Home

Here are some more Valentine’s Day cookies that have been featured previously in this space.

Sandwiches Sweet and Pink

Pecan Sour Cream Sandies

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Anytime Frosted Sugar Cookies

Anytime frosted sugar cookies.

Anytime frosted sugar cookies.

Psssst—-Gather ’round everyone, I have a secret to tell you.   You know those soft, frosted sugar cookies that you see in those plastic containers at the grocery store?  The ones that have changing color schemes depending on the season and upcoming holiday?    Well, you can make them at home,  only BETTER!     I don’t buy them myself, but if someone offered me one, I guess I’d have a hard time saying,  ” no, thanks.”   They’re nicely decorated, make you feel festive, and it’s so easy to buy a package and put them out on a plate,  what’s the harm?    Artificial ingredients, that’s what.

I’ve found a recipe for a homemade version that blows the competition right out of the water.    These taste buttery and delicious because, well, they’re made with real butter, with real vanilla, and real eggs.  Real beats artificial every time.  These are easy to make and they can be customized to the season or holiday just by tinting either the cookie dough or the frosting with food coloring and sprinkling on some decorative sugars or jimmies.  The only problem once you make these is that they taste so much better than the store-bought, you won’t want to stop at having just one.  So having a batch of these around is kind of a problem, but at least it’s a good problem to have. 😀

ANYTIME FROSTED SUGAR COOKIES

Yield:  2 – 3 dozen large cookies

Change colors to suit the occasion or holiday.

Change colors to suit the occasion or holiday.

Ingredients:

  • 4  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1  1/2 cups ( 3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

2.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and whisk together to blend.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.

4.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

5.  When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of cough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2 – 3 inches apart.  Bake about 10 – 12 minutes or just until set.  (Do not over bake.)  The edges should be only very lightly browned if at all.  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting:IMG_5546

  • 4 – 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup  ( 5  1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 7 – 8 Tbsp. milk, plus more as needed
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles and colored sugars, optional

To frost the cookies:

1.  Place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use an offset spatula or knife to frost the cooled cookies.  Top with sprinkles as desired.   Store in an air-tight container.

Let frosting dry before storing in air tight container.

Let frosting dry before storing in air tight container.

SOURCE:    Martha Stewart