Monday, November 10, 2008

2 Down, 99 to Go: Shortbread Cookies

How is it, dear readers, that roll out cookies are my least favorite cookies to make and yet I keep making them? Case and point: I just made shortbread. I must have some self-hatred issues.

The shortbread weren't too bad though, honestly. You have to roll them out, yes, but the dough is super soft and easy to work with, unlike my cookie foes that you have to chill first and then break off your limbs trying to roll it out properly. It's why I hate making pie crust with a fiery, burning passion.

Geez, what happened there? Let's move on.

I'm indecisive, to the point where I don't like going to Subway because there are too many options. This is rather frightening, since I'm a vegetarian and there is only one option: the veggie sub. The only choice is the type of veggies. I would probably have constant panic attacks if I ate meat. So instead of choosing what I should bake next, I rolled off a list of things to Joe that were on my "To Bake" list and he chose shortbread. And shortbread it was.

The cookie magazine I'm determined to bake through (only 99 more recipes!) had a few different varieties of shortbread but Joe wanted just plain ol' shortbread, which is probably a good thing since I don't think I've made shortbread. After tasting these little gems though, I'm excited to try the other versions. I am not, however, excited to gain the 10 lbs that will cost me. Mm, light, flaky, buttery goodness. What will I do when I graduate and can't pawn this stuff off on drunk college boys?

The recipe is pretty easy, though the baking directions suck, instructing you to bake sometime between 30 minutes and an hour. I mean, that's kind of a big difference. I ended up baking my cookies about 15 minutes a batch because I made my cookies a lot smaller than they did, I guess.

Shortbread Cookies


* 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 10 ounces all-purpose flour


1. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the flour, mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don't overmix.
4. Add the flour, ground hazelnuts, and zest; mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don't overmix.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking.
6. Cut the dough into bars or squares with a sharp knife or, using cookie cutters, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly.
7. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.
8. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 minutes, swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 min., reduce the oven temperature to 275°F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325°F.

The only change I made was adding a dash of vanilla, I don't trust cookies without vanilla.

Like I said, I don't know what it is with me and cookies but I always make cookies way smaller and end up getting tons more than the recipe is supposed to yield. In this recipe, for example, the recipe is supposed to make about 4 dozen cookies-- 48 cookies. I got a little over 80 cookies. Nice, I could feed a small army. I used a small cordial drinking glass to cut the cookies out since I don't actually have cookie cutters so my options were either the classy drinking glasses or the plastic shot glass that lights up when you touch it. Ah, college boys are so classy.

I also cut out some squares, poked a few holes in the top with a fork (since shortbread usually has that little design on the top... I think) to vary the shapes a bit but that was more labor intensive so I quickly got sick of that. And then I didn't want to write a paper that's due tomorrow so I made a few jam sandwiches with the circles and decorated them with powdered sugar. Yay, procrastination!

I really should go finish that paper though. Grumble.


Calana said...

Mmm I love shortbread. Those look delicious!

You would have an even harder time going to the subways in my area then, as they have TWO veggie options haha. Just regular veggies, or the veggie max patty!

meeuh said...

Hey, lady. There's a good shortbread recipe my friends used and it has lavender in it. Pretty delicious. I also do not trust any dessert recipe that does not have vanilla in it. Do you have a cinnamon problem too? Because every time I bake something with cinnamon in it, I throw twice as much into the batter.

Sophie said...

Calana: oh the horror! But mmm, veggie patty...

Mia: I think Brian would think I was compromising his masculinity if I made lavender shortbread. I also have the cinnamon problem, but I've never made anything too cinnamony by adding loads more so I'm okay with it.

Samie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samie said...

yummy! ♥

Shortbread is lovely. and I'll have to try that soon!

(and I also have the vanilla problem. and the cinnamon one too! I add vanilla obsessively to most things I bake..they just aren't as good without.)