I’ve been absent as of late. From a work perspective, I have focused on writing in both the technical and personal realm. In addition, I have been actively following my desire (need?) to further reduce my screen time and ultimately spend more one-on-one time with my children. I still love my little space in this growing community but have moved into a less prescriptive posting schedule (more on letting things go, here). I’m back today as I couldn’t miss the opportunity to write about Christmas cookies.
The first cookie recipe that I always bake during the lead-up to Christmas is shortbread. I consider the humble shortbread to be the most important cookie on the cookie tray. The buttery, crumbly texture as well as the not overly sweet taste make it an immensely satisfying cookie. I’ve graduated from decorating the cookies with sprinkles (sprinkles are for sugar cookies and party cakes) to simply sprinkling sugar on top and occasionally adding dried flowers. With so few ingredients in the recipe, it is essential to buy fresh ingredients. If you do not usually bake, do not use the flour that you bought last year at this time. Toss it and buy a fresh bag. It makes the world of a difference.
Classic Shortbread Cookies
Time: Prep time (30 minutes- includes rolling out the dough) + Resting time (30 minutes) + Baking time (25 minutes per batch)
2 cups (450 g or 1lb), unsalted butter slightly softened
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (65 g) cornstarch
¼- ½ tsp fine-grained salt
2-3 tbsp dried rose petals (optional)
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer.
2. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt to the bowl and mix at low speed or with a wooden spoon.
3. The dough should come together and not be crumbly (mix a little more if this is the case). Divide the dough in half and form into 2 discs. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator (dough that is too warm is difficult to roll).
4. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Roll out one disc on a lightly floured surface. Cut rounds using a 5 cm (2-inch) cookie cutter. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly press rose petals into the dough and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bottom of the cookie is a pale brown. Remove from the oven and allow to harden on the pan for 5 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to fully cool. Repeat the process with the second disc. Place in an airtight container. They store well at room temperature for a week and up to 4 weeks in the freezer.
Notes: Adapted from Lucy Waverman.
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