Monday, December 6, 2010

Liars and Scoundrels and Shortbread Cookies

For the month of November we promised a recipe a day, so that by the end of the month we would have shared thirty recipes.

In case you haven't noticed, it is December.

And we are, by my count, eight recipes short.

We are liars. Liars, liars, pants on fire-s.

Lemme make it up to you today, because, as I pointed out, is IS December, and that means cookies.

This recipe is a combination of several different recipes, so I get to call it my very own, and now I get to share it with you!

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Get your favorite big bowl. For something like this, I think that a nice stoneware or pottery-type, glass, or even metal bowl works better than plastic, because we're going to use it eventually to chill the dough.

With an electric mixer cream together
2 sticks of unsalted butter (that you left out for a few hours, or all day, to soften up)
1 cup powdered sugar

It takes a few minutes to get it really creamy -- then mix in
1 GENEROUS teaspoon good vanilla
(If you accidentally drip in a little extra, it doesn't hurt a thing! Just my opinion, though...)
2 Tablespoons of heavy (whipping) cream (making sure that you get ALL the cream off the spoon).

In another bowl, which could be plastic, sift together
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, and
1/4 teaspoon salt.

Stir the flour mix into the creamed butter and sugar mix. This gets to count as your upper body work out for the day. At the very end, you will likely need to use your hands to finish it up properly.

Divide the dough into two balls in the bowl and stick in the refrigerator for about an hour, until it is really good and cold.

About 30 minutes before you are ready to actually bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Preheating for a little extra time gives a more consistent heat, according to a friend of mine who bakes -- also, if you have never tested your oven temperature, this is a great time to get an oven thermometer and see if you need to adjust the heat. My oven is ALWAYS off by 25 degrees one way or the other -- I never know which direction until I check the thermometer -- and TRUST ME, getting the temperature right makes all the difference in the world when you are baking. Roasts and gratins and casseroles don't care nearly all that much about temperature, but pies and cakes and cookies do. (End of lecture. 'scuse me.)

Of course, you can guess what happens next.

Roll the cookie dough out to 1/4" to 1/3" thickness onto a lightly floured surface, cut it in whatever shapes you like and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. I sprinkled my cookies with Turbinado sugar and stuck the cookie sheets into the fridge to chill for a few minutes before baking. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until the cookies just begin to turn golden at the edges. I also like to turn the cookie sheet around about halfway through baking, so that the cookies that started out in the back end up in the front.

Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the pan before you transfer them to a cooling rack -- they are really delicate while they are still hot and will fall apart if you try to move them too quickly!

Once cool, nibble on one and think, "hmmm, pretty good, but mightn't they be better after they've had a day to rest?"

Put the remaining cookies into an airtight container, out of the reach of Other People Who Have No Self Control.

The next day, when you get home from work, make a nice cup of hot tea, and have a cookie.


Imagine that you have gone to heaven.
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Have a Very Merry Christmas!


  1. I'm totally making these. And I may be a liar, but my pants are most definitely NOT on fire...


  2. Thanks for hiding them from me....I have no self control when it comes to shortbread cookies.