Since I wasn’t sure HOW I was going to find time to prepare FIVE different batches of cookies in FIVE days ALL by myself, I decided to summon the help of my friends.
The following entry and tasty recipe was written by my blogging/cooking/creative thinking friend Colleen. (read her blog here)
Traditional Christmas Shortbread
I love food that is versatile. If you find something that is good in its basic form and fantastic with a few enhancements you have the basis for a thousand and one tasty treats. You can go as far as your imagination will take you!
Shortbread is one of those adaptable wonders. Mild, buttery, and flaky in its purest form it takes on new dimensions with the addition of nuts, flavorings, spices, fruits, candies, frosting, and just about anything else you can imagine.
We will start with the basic traditional recipe for shortbread and explore a few variations near the end. Have a piping hot cup of Earl Grey ready, you are gonna need it!
Traditional Christmas Shortbread
Makes 12-16 (Depending on the size of your cookie cutters)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (do not use salted) – softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
NOTE: At this point the dough can be well wrapped and frozen for a few months. It will keep well in an airtight container in your fridge for up to three weeks.
Didn’t I tell you this is an awesome cookie!? You can pull the dough out a little at a time and try different variations with each batch. What fun! Make it once and enjoy it many times! This is a lazy day cookie if ever I saw one. Since I’m a lazy kinda’ girl this recipe and me are gonna be goooood friends!
Preheat oven to 325F. Bake until firm and just starting to color. They burn easily so keep an eye on the first few batches until you see how your particular oven bakes. Start peeking in the window about 10 minutes in.
Dip into a steaming hot cup of your favorite tea and enjoy!!
General Variation Ideas
When you first mix them, or when you pull out a piece of dough to bake, throw in some of these items and you will change the simple essence of the original cookie into something extraordinary!
1) Nuts – You name it you can add it! Just make sure you chop them finely or they may prevent you from rolling the dough thin enough.
2) Dried Fruits – Same as for nuts, chop finely.
3) Spices – Again, your imagination is your guide. Spices and nuts or fruit go particularly well together.
4) Flavorings – Best added during the mixing phase. You could overwork your dough if you mix it in later.
5) Herbs – Rosemary and lavender go well together (as does rosemary and lemon). Experiment and come up with your own favorites.
6) Candies – They add flavor and a bit of crunch!
7) Frosting – A simple buttercream cookie frosting accentuates the subtle buttery cookie very well. If you frost your cookies you can add chopped nuts, fruits, sprinkles, or candies on top. It adds color as well as flavor!
Almond: Add ½ cup powdered almonds and 1 tsp almond extract to the creamed butter.
Lemon: Add 2 teaspoons lemon zest and a few drops of lemon extract if desired.
Ginger: Substitute brown sugar for the icing sugar. Add 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of cloves to the flour mixture.
Green Tea: Whisk 2 tablespoons of finely ground green tea with the flour and salt.
Chocolate: Add ½ cup cocoa to the flour and salt. Dip baked cookies in dark chocolate for a mouth-watering double-chocolate treat.
Vanilla: Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean into the creamed butter
Espresso: Dissolve 2 tablespoons espresso powder in 1 teaspoon hot water. Add to creamed butter and sugar mixture before adding flour.