Posts Tagged ‘JoyOfBaking’

Today, the 2-week countdown until Christmas begins! I was just thinking about how I haven’t made shortbread cookies in a while.. After making a batch today, I will probably start making them more often. I usually try to avoid cookies that call for refrigeration time and require rolling the dough out. But, I guess since I’ve been making so many doughs lately (brioche dough, pizza dough), I’ve grow accustomed to the process.

Shortbread is actually a pretty basic cookie: flour, salt, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla.

I used a recipe from JoyOfBaking.com. Lately, everytime I’ve been looking for recipes, I always run into the Joy of Baking site. So, I decided to try out the Shortbread Cookies recipe.

Shortbread Cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds or whatever shapes you wish using lightly floured cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly brown. Cool on rack.


I immediately liked this recipe, simply because she said to whisk the flour and salt together. Not many people know that whisking the dry ingredients is the same as sifting them together! The only difference, in my opinion, is that whisking is so much easier! It’s a great tip I learned one day while watching Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies special.

Once I added the whole flour mixture, the dough was of a very fragile and crumbly consistency. It reminded me of the flour and butter/shortening mixture when making biscuits before adding the buttermilk. After combining everything to the best of my ability, I pressed the dough into the bottom of my bowl to imitate a disk– a foe disk, I suppose. I laid out a good-size amount of plastic wrap and turned my bowl over onto it. Unfortunately, it crumbled as it fell. But then, I found I was able to reshape the dough very easily by folding over lengths of the plastic wrap and pressing the dough together from outside of the wrap. The dough making contact with the plastic wrap instead of my hands directly, was very helpful. When I tried using my hands, the dough stuck to them like glue! I hate being messy.. and wasteful of the dough!

It is important to form the dough in a disk shape before refrigeration. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the disk shape will allow the dough to chill quickly and evenly. If you place a cookie dough ball into the refrigerator for the said amount of time, the outside will be chilled but the center will not!

Once the cookies are chilled for an hour, the dough will be very stiff. I tried to roll the dough out with no great success. It was cracking at the edges when I was trying to roll it out! Plus, the dough was sticking to my rolling pin even after I lightly floured it! This was not looking good. I ended up reworking the dough a bit, and that solved all of my problems. Since the dough has so much butter it did, eventually, roll out cleanly.

When baking my cookies, I had one batch on a sheet lined with parchment paper and one batch directly on the baking sheet. Both sheets cooked exactly the same. My understanding is that the parchment paper is mainly used for convenience– the ability to slide the cookies from refrigerator to pan and pan to cooking rack with ease. It can also make cleanup easy. Usually, parchment paper is used to keep cookies or cakes from sticking to the pan. However, since these cookies are butter-based, they will not be sticking to the baking sheet. And because I always wash my baking sheets after I use them, it doesn’t really make much of a difference to me. So, in my opinion, if you don’t have any around, don’t worry about making parchment paper a priority for these cookies.

I ended up going with a basic circle shape. I used the rim of a glass for uniformity. Because I wanted to try this plain shortbread cookie dough first (to see if I loved it enough to want to put my own twist on another batch), I knew I had to find some way to make these cookies my own. So, I made a simple chocolate glaze– chocolate chips, butter, and a little heavy cream melted over a double boiler– to give the shortbread some character. Now, this is the time to use parchment/wax paper. While the dipped chocolate on the cookies set onto the paper,  I added some festive sprinkles as a final touch. I placed the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to fully set– doing so doesn’t change the texture of the cookie at all. It just makes it easier to safely and cleanly remove the cookies from the paper. These are a few..

I’ve eaten some shortbread that are too heavy and too dry. I want to savor my cookie, not choke! Don’t worry. This is the recipe to use. These cookies melt in your mouth– and rightfully so because of all that butter! I will be using this shortbread recipe as a base for a few other shortbread variations I will be embarking on this season! Stay tuned!

nom nom nom.



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