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Friday, December 16, 2016

Whipped Shortbread

With Christmas just one week away, it's time to start preparing.

The recipe for these wonderful, buttery whipped shortbread cookies has been in storage for the past 5 years while we were away.  When I made them last week, I remembered why these are always a hit.  The texture is perfect for shortbread and the use of salted butter creates a wonderful balance.

Can usually be found in the baking section of the grocery store
When someone takes a bite of something and closes their eyes for a minute to savour it, you know that it is good.  These cookies seem to often trigger this reaction.  This is an easy recipe and requires only 5 ingredients.  Vanilla paste is great if you can find it.  It has great flavour and represents a great combination of vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.  It will give you that wonderful speckled effect that you get in really good vanilla ice cream.

You will need:  makes about 20 cookies (medium size) - can be doubled 
  • 1 cup (250g) of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (60g) of icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (220g) of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (35g) of cornstarch

1.  Preheat oven to 325°F - 160°C.

2.  Using a mixer, cream the butter (1 cup - 250g), icing sugar (1/2 cup - 60g) and vanilla paste (1tbsp - 15ml) until well blended and light (about 2 minutes at medium speed);

3.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour (1 1/2 cups - 220g) and cornstarch (1/4 cup - 35g) together;
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend well on slow speed.  Increase to medium speed and mix for another minute. 

5.  Wrap the cookie dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour;

6.  On a generously floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch (13mm) thick;

7.  Create the desired shapes with a cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet;

8.  Cook in the middle and upper part of the oven for about 15 minutes or until sides begin to colour;

9.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes;

10.  The cookies will have expanded a little.  If you would like crisp edges, use the cookie cutter again to trim off excess (this is optional);  you can then use the crumbs as topping for ice cream.

Chocolate Drizzle:

Melting chocolate for the icing can be a little tricky.  It can easily burn. Chocolate should melt slowly and this can be done either by placing it in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering  (not boiling and the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl) water or in the microwave at 50% power for one minute at a time.  Either way, the melted chocolate at the bottom should be stirred with the unmelted chocolate to bring the temperature down in order to avoid burning it and keep it tempered.  It should never get too hot.

You will need:  to drizzle on 20 cookies

1/2 cup (75g) of good dark chocolate

  1. Melt the chocolate as described above;
  2. Place the melted chocolate in a piping bag (or zip lock type freezer bag, cutting a very small part of the corner tip - this will work as a piping bag in a pinch);
  3. Pipe onto the cookies and allow to cool at room temperature for a few hours until the chocolate hardens;
  4. Cookies can be frozen.
Happy Holidays!  xo

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