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Shortbread Cookies 4 Ways

SERVINGS: 18-24 | Prep Time: 40-55 MINS | Cook Time: 20 MINS

    The holidays are a time when the aroma of freshly baked cookies seems to fill every room! Celebrate this special time of year and appreciate the art of holiday baking with this simple shortbread recipe. It can be dolled up four ways: classic shortbread cookies, black and white cookies with royal icing and chocolate ganache, pecan studded Mexican wedding cookies and caramel sandwich cookies.

    Instructions:

    BASE SHORTBREAD COOKIE DOUGH:

      1. Sift together the flour, salt, and powdered sugar.
      2. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
      3. Add the flour and sugar a third at a time on low speed, then add the vanilla.
      4. Form the dough into a ball (or into a few balls, if making a big batch).
      5. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap, press into a thick disc, and chill in the fridge until cold, about 30 minutes. The colder the dough, the better the shortbread will be.

    CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES:

      1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
      2. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thick, and cut out using whatever fun holiday shapes and cookie cutters you want.
      3. Roll up the dough, re-roll the dough, and cut out the remaining with cookie cutters.
      4. Repeat until you’re done with dough. If turning these into ornaments, use a skewer to poke a hole (at least 1/8″ wide) about a 1/2″ in from the edge of the cookie.
      5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges.
      6. Remove from the oven and move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
      7. Decorate with sprinkles if you like. Let the cookies set completely before serving.

    MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES:

      1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
      2. Combine the cinnamon and pecans on a plate. Take the chilled dough a TBSP. at a time, and roll it in the cinnamon/pecan mixture. Between the palms of your hands, form the dough into a ball, mixing in the cinnamon/pecan mixture throughout.
      3. Arrange balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. If the dough is no longer cool to the touch, place the tray in the fridge for a few minutes to let the dough set.
      4. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 20 to 25 minutes.
      5. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet.
      6. Gently toss warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat completely.
      7. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely.

    BLACK AND WHITE COOKIES:

      1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
      2. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
      3. Cut out the cookies with a floured round cookie cutter, and set onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about a 1/2 inch apart.
      4. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are barely golden brown, but no more.
      5. Take the trays out of the oven, let them cool for about 2 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack, letting them cool completely.
      6. For the royal icing, combine the first five ingredients in a bowl, stirring until spreadable. If a little thick, add a few drops of water at a time.
      7. For the chocolate ganache, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chopped chocolate with the corn syrup.
      8. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes.
      9. Whisk until smooth.
      10. Let the glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes. Set aside to use.
      11. Dip the cookies halfway in the royal icing, returning them to the wire rack to set (about 5 minutes), then dip the other half in the chocolate ganache.

    CARAMEL SANDWICH COOKIES:

    1. To make the caramel filling, take the wrapper off of the can of sweetened condensed milk and place it in a saucepan filled with water. The water should cover the can by one inch.
    2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
    3. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. If you’re concerned about the can popping or exploding (it’s rare, but has happened), pop a hole in the top of the can and only bring water up to the edge of the can, rather than submerging it. Just keep adding hot water if the water evaporates and gets low.
    4. Remove the can from the water and let it cool to room temperature.
    5. Pop the can open, and stir with a spoon.
    6. To put together the cookie sandwich, spread about 2 tsp. of the caramel sauce on a shortbread cookie and sandwich with another one.
    7. Sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar on both sides. Enjoy!

    Crank up your cooking tip:

    This shortbread dough freezes beautifully - great to keep on hand for last minute holiday treats.

Ingredients:

BASE SHORTBREAD COOKIE DOUGH:

    1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
    2. 1/4 tsp. salt
    3. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    4. 8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
    5. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES:

      1. 1 tsp. cinnamon
      2. 1 cup finely chopped pecans
      3. 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

BLACK AND WHITE COOKIES:

        1. 1 egg white
        2. 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
        3. 1 TBSP. water
        4. 2 cups powdered sugar
        5. 3/4 cup heavy cream
        6. 9 oz. semi sweet chocolate (about 1 cup), chopped
        7. 2 TBSP. corn syrup
        8. Sprinkles (optional)

CARAMEL SANDWICH COOKIES:

          1. 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
          2. 1 cup powdered sugar

KITCHEN TOOLS:

          1. Electric Mixer
          2. Cooling Rack
          3. Baking Sheet
          4. Sifter
          5. Cookie Cutters (1 round, and any other fun holiday shapes)
          6. Skewer
          7. Parchment Paper