Shortbread is pretty irresistible. Typically, recipes are only subtly different. I wanted to try this version because it resulted in a tender cookie, incorporated vanilla bean paste, and because it was Deb Perelman’s favorite.
The cookies were definitely more tender than any other shortbread I’ve made in the past. This is the result from using confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated sugar and from the semolina flour.
I made them for our St. Patrick’s Day dessert. Deb Perelman re-posted the recipe when the new Ted Lasso season began. 🙂 The recipe was adapted from smittenkitchen.com. I liked the cutting and shaping method. I weighed all of the dry ingredients.
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or almond extract or lemon or orange zest or extracts)
250 grams (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
45 g (1/4 cup) semolina flour
Heat your oven to 300°F. (I set my oven to convection.)
Line an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. (No need to grease.)
In a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt together, scraping frequently, until butter is soft. (see note below for alternatively using a food processor)
Add flavoring of choice and flour, and mix just until combined, scraping down the bowl again. This is the same order as for a hand mixer, but with a hand mixer, you’ll want the butter semi-softened first.
Add dough to the prepared baking pan in chunks. Use hands to press evenly into the pan, then an offset spatula or the base of a measuring cup to smooth the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven to cut into shapes. Leave oven on.
Shape the cookies: For the 8-inch square pan: Repeatedly lay a bamboo skewer on the top of the cookie square to make an imprint to help you cut it into 3 even columns (about 2.5 inches wide) in one direction and 8 thin bars (just shy of 1 inch) in the other. Use the back of a wooden skewer to drag across the surface, making slightly indented lines first, then use a very thin, sharp paring knife to cut along these lines to the bottom of the pan. (For a 9-inch round pan: Use a 2 to 3-inch round cookie cutter or glass to cut the center. Then, use a skewer (explained above) to gently indent lines like sun rays or the hands of a clock from the inner circle to the outer edge of the cookie so that they’re your desired size wedges. Then use a very thin, sharp paring knife to cut along these lines to the bottom of the pan.
Dock the cookies all over, about 1/3 deep, with the back of the skewer (for bigger dots) or the pointy end (for smaller holes).
Return pan to the oven for another 25 to 35 minutes, until cookies have a deep golden edge but are mostly pale across the top. Watch closely in the last 10 to 15 minutes so they don’t over bake.
Let cool in pan, or, if you’re impatient, let them cool for 10 minutes, and then remove them.
Note:In a food processor: Combine powdered sugar, salt, and flour in the work bowl, pulsing a few times. Add flavoring of choice and butter and pulse several times to chop the butter down into smaller pieces. Then, run the machine until it is fully incorporated, coming together in a smooth mass, 1 to 2 minutes more. Scrape down the bowl a few times for even mixing.
Do ahead: Shortbread keeps for 1 week, if not longer, at room temperature. It freezes well too, just wrap it tight.
These soft gingerbread cookies were my daughter’s favorite in the assortment! I bought Nordic Ware snowflake cookie stamps after seeing them on the beautiful blog The View from Great Island.
The recipe was adapted from Ottolenghi’s dessert cookbook, Sweet, via theviewfromgreatisland.com. I modified the method using another post on the same blog that used cookie stamps.
I also used a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop instead of a 2 tablespoon scoop, resulting in less of the snowflake imprint being transferred. (I need a 2 tablespoon scoop!) I would also thin the glaze even more next time so that it would be more transparent, revealing more of the pattern of the stamp.
Alternatively, instead of the glaze, each cookie could be sprinkled with additional granulated sugar prior to baking.
Yield: 18 cookies (using 1 1/2 T scoop) (6 of each design)
For the Cookies:
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 packed cup plus 2 T (7 T) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (5 T) molasses (do not use blackstrap, which is bitter)
1 large egg yolk
1 3/4 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 T Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
To Roll and Stamp:
small bowl of granulated sugar
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 T warm water, plus more for thinning
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put your cookie stamps in the freezer to chill.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and molasses in a stand mixer (or with a hand held mixer).
Beat in the egg yolk.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating on low until the dough comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until all the floury crumbles are incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk. I did not have to chill my dough before rolling, but if yours is very soft, you may want to.
Use a medium (1 1/2 or 2 tablespoon) cookie scoop to portion out the dough.
Roll the dough into balls and coat in granulated sugar.
Stamp the balls of dough with your cookie stamp. Gently pry it off the cookie stamp by just nudging one corner. The cookie should come right off the stamp. (at this point, you can sprinkle the top with additional sugar if not making the glaze)
Place the stamped cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes. (I placed them on a parchment paper-lined cutting board.)
Place the cold cookies onto fresh parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. You don’t want to over bake these cookies, so do a test cookie or two to figure out the best timing for your oven. The cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven, but will firm up as they cool.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan before carefully transferring to a rack to cool completely.
When the cookies are cool, whisk the glaze ingredients together until they become a smooth thin glaze. Add more water if the glaze is too thick, it should have the consistency of maple syrup or a thin honey.
Brush the cooled cookies with the glaze. You want the glaze to be thick enough to settle into the design for a beautiful emphasis. It will become more translucent as it dries.
Let the glaze set up fully before serving or storing.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! These are the cookies that we shared with our family and friends this Christmas season.
My list of favorite cookies continues to grow- at some point I will have to edit myself. 😉 I tried a new glazed gingerbread cookie using snowflake cookie stamps. I also made spritz cookies with almonds and almond extract using my grandmother’s cookie press. Festive and fun.
Oh my- We were late to the party on this one. Ted Lasso is such an uplifting show! (I know that everyone else saw it years ago…) I must say that watching it makes you crave shortbread. 😉
Apple TV released the recipe for Ted Lasso’s special biscuits. This recipe was adapted from Apple TV via food52.com, contributed by Kelly Vaughan. I modified the method. I also sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar before and after baking- just like Ted.
Yield: about 18 biscuits
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 oz or 227 g) salted butter (I used Kerry Gold)
98 g (3/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar
240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
sanding or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 300℉, preferably on convection. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with a parchment paper sling.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat the butter for about three minutes, until it’s light and fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, being careful not to get sugar all over your countertops and yourself.
Add the flour, mixing about 90 seconds, or until the dough comes together.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and flatten it using your hands or the base of a metal measuring cup to ensure that it’s spread evenly.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes on convection or up to 60 minutes in a standard oven, or until it looks golden-brown but is still a little soft to the touch.
Once the biscuits have finished baking, remove from the oven and sprinkle with additional sugar, if desired.
Immediately cut into pieces. I trimmed the edges and then sliced the square into 18 rectangles.
Let it cool completely before serving (in a pink cardboard box, of course).
I am almost out of time to post these festive fall cookies! It is technically still fall until December 21st…
I made these cookies along with Vanilla Halloween Cupcakes for my kids and their friends on Halloween… yes- that was quite a while ago! I doubled the recipe below and it was perfect for a crowd, making 37 cookies.
The recipe was adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I used an entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin purée for the double batch. I blotted it on (MANY MANY) paper towels prior to weighing it.
Yield: 18 cookies
For the Cookie Dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons (86g) blotted/dried pumpkin purée (see below)
1 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating (you will have extra):
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Blot the pumpkin purée on paper towels, or squeeze in paper towels, changing the towels frequently, until it is quite dry. Set aside. (Squeeze as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before adding it to the cookie dough. This will help produce a less cakey cookie. Less moisture is a good thing here! Weigh (or measure 6 T) AFTER the pumpkin has been squeezed/blotted. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.)
Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until no brown sugar lumps remain.
Whisk in the vanilla and blotted pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and remaining spices together in a large bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft.
Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Chilling the dough is a must for this recipe. (If doubling the recipe, chill the dough for 45 minutes.)
Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (I set my oven to true convection.) Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Using a cookie scoop, ration the dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and roll each into balls.
Mix the coating ingredients together, and then roll each cookie dough ball generously in the cinnamon-sugar coating.
Arrange cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a cup/measuring cup, slightly flatten the tops of the dough balls. (Without doing so, the cookies may not spread.)
Bake for 10 minutes on convection, or up to 11–12 minutes in a standard oven, or until the edges appear set. The cookies will look very soft in the center.
Remove from the oven. If you find that your cookies didn’t spread much at all, flatten them out gently with the back of a spoon when you take them out of the oven.
Cool cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The longer the cookies cool, the better they taste! The flavor gets stronger and the texture becomes chewier. (The original recipe notes that she usually lets them sit, uncovered, for several hours before serving.) Chewiness and pumpkin flavor are even stronger on day 2.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
To Make Ahead (& Freeze):
You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 3 months before baking. It’s best to freeze them without the cinnamon-sugar coating. When you are ready to bake, remove the dough balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, preheat the oven, and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar topping.
WOW. My daughter declared that these are the best cookies I have ever made!
They are composed of crispy and crunchy, thin toffee cookies sandwiched with fabulous brown-butter buttercream. The filling is the perfect complement to the toffee flavored cookies.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sohla El-Waylly. I modified the method and increased the amount of filling. I also used toffee with chocolate- now I’ll have to try them without as well. Amazing!
The original recipe notes that these cookies are ideal for shipping and sharing because they have a long shelf life. They didn’t last very long in my house! 😉
Yield: 34 to 36 sandwich cookies
For the Cookies:
227 g (about 1 1/2 cups) English toffee bits, preferably without chocolate (such as Heath Bits O’Brickle)(I used Trader Joe’s Toffee Chips with both dark and milk chocolate, coarsely chopped)
112 g (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
3 T (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, white and yolk separated, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (224 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup (40 g) sliced almonds, or more, for garnish
For the Brown-Butter Buttercream Filling:
16 T (227 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp plus a pinch Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/8 tsp Morton kosher salt
320 g (2 2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To Make the Cookies:
In a food processor, process the toffee bits, sugar, baking soda and salt until the toffee is mostly ground and the mixture is sandy, about 1 minute.
Transfer the toffee mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer).
Add butter, egg white and vanilla. Mix together with the paddle attachment on medium until creamy and fluffy, stopping once to scrape the bowl and paddle, about 2 minutes.
Add flour, and mix on medium-low until the mixture comes together into a soft dough, about 30 seconds.
Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a disk. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before proceeding. (I wrapped each disk in plastic wrap.)
Dust a piece of parchment paper and dough with flour. Top with a second piece of parchment paper.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick between the two sheets of parchment (the thickness of two stacked pennies), turning the dough frequently to ensure it moves freely, dusting with more flour as needed. Each sheet of dough will be about the size of a standard sheet of paper.
Place the dough on a flat surface (I used a cutting board) and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter dusted in flour, cut out cookies from one sheet of dough. Using an offset spatula, transfer rounds to a parchment paper lined rimmed sheet pan, placing another sheet of parchment paper between layers. (I stacked the rounds between sheets of plastic wrap but it was slightly difficult to remove them once frozen- parchment paper seems like a better plan.)
Repeat with the remaining sheet of dough.
Gather and knead together any scraps, refreeze and re-roll, repeating until all the dough has been rolled out for a total of about 68 to 72 cookies.
Wrap the rounds of dough on the sheet pan with plastic wrap; freeze on sheet trays for at least 30 minutes before baking. (Alternatively, once the cookies have firmly frozen, stack them between parchment in a freezer-safe container or zipper-lock bag for up to 3 months.)
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. (I used the convection setting.)
Whisk together the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and evenly brush on the tops of half (34 to 36) of the chilled cookies.
Sprinkle the yolk-brushed cookies with almonds, pressing gently to adhere.
Bake the cookies until deeply browned like a pretzel, switching the sheet trays from top to bottom and rotating from front to back halfway through, 10 to 14 minutes. (I simultaneously baked 3 pans of 12 cookies each for 10 to 11 minutes on convection.)
Bake the remaining cookies (without almonds) at the same temperature for the same duration.
Let cookies cool completely on the sheet pans.
To Make the Filling:
Set a piping bag in a tall and narrow container, like a deli quart container, and fold over the top edge to secure.
Flip over the cookies without almonds. (You need to pipe the icing onto the cookies immediately after mixing, so make sure you are set up.)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foamy, about 3 minutes.
Continue cooking butter, stirring and scraping frequently with a stiff silicone spatula, until the sputtering has subsided and the butter solids look deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the butter and any brown bits into the bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large bowl if mixing by hand).
Stir in the vanilla and salt.
Sift over the powdered sugar.
With the paddle attachment, mix on low until creamy and combined, about 1 minute, stopping once during mixing to scrape the bowl and the paddle. (You can also mix with a stiff silicone spatula until creamy and combined.)
Transfer the icing to the piping bag and cut a 1-inch wide opening at the tip. (I used a round piping tip instead.) The icing will be warm and fluid.
Pipe a scant tablespoon of filling onto a flipped cookie and immediately top with an almond-topped cookie.
Gently press to adhere so that the filling reaches the edges of the cookie.
Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
As soon as I read an article about these cookies, I was obsessed. 😉
Although named butter cookies, I would describe them as shortbread cookies. According to The Chicago Tribune, these fantastic cookies were the standout item served by the Chicago Public Schools from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Now described as a “cult classic,” easily identified by the three-finger press on top of the dough, Crockett Cookies updated the original recipe by incorporating vanilla bean paste and sea salt.
The recipe was adapted from crockettcookies.com, via myrecipes.com and The Chicago Tribune. I modified the proportions and size, using a cookie scoop to ration the dough. I also baked the cookies in a convection oven. Crockett Cookies sells them (as well as a peanut butter version) in grocery and specialty stores throughout the Chicagoland area- genius.
They have quickly climbed the ranks to be one of my husband’s absolute favorites- tied with Tutu’s! 🙂 The texture is perfect- crispy on the edges and tender and crumbly in the center. Crazy easy and absolutely delicious.
Yield: Makes about 20 cookies
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature