Monday, February 4, 2013

Heart-shaped Shortbread cookies

I can't believe it is already February!  Time to get cracking on some Valentine's Day prep!  
Hmmm....I don't have any Valentine's Day haters for readers do I?  I sincerely hope not!  Maybe you aren't necessarily feeling the love this Valentine's Day, but I mean, there is usually chocolate involved in the day.  I know you like chocolate!
I dipped some of these cookies in chocolate, but some got simple sugar sprinkles.  Others were just left in their simple buttery state.  Shortbread is such a perfect cookie.  It feels like you are eating something so decadent, but the ingredients are simple.  You probably have most of what you need in your home right now. Just five simple ingredients: butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt.
These cookies would be the perfect treat for someone special for Valentine's Day. Even if that someone special is yourself.  You deserve it.  
Here are a few tips I've come up with for shortbread success:
  • use good quality butter.  This is a good rule for all cookies, but when butter is one of your main ingredients, you don't want to skimp. Make sure your butter is at room temperature.  
  • For a super smooth consistency, I used Baker's Sugar.  This is a very fine sugar, that you can find at regular grocery stores.  It comes in a container that looks just like a milk carton.  It is superfine and just creams so nicely with the butter.  No grainy texture, perfect for shortbread cookies.  I don't think it's necessary for all cookies, but give it a try sometime.  
  • Keep your dough nice and chilled.  Chilled dough will help maintain your cookie's shape after baking.

Heart-shaped Shortbread Cookies
from Ina Garten
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl combine flour and salt.  Set aside.
Using your stand or hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, until they are just combined.  Add the vanilla.  Next, add in the dry ingredients.  Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Roll into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and let chill for at least 30 minutes.
Once dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350.  On a floured surface roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out heart shapes, place on cookie sheet, and chill for about 10 minutes.  If you are sprinkling with sugar, do that prior to baking.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  Check cookies frequently to prevent over-browning.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Once cookies are cool, you will need to melt your chocolate.  Place in a microwave safe bowl and melt in intervals of 30 seconds until completely melted.  Stir generously to get the chocolate shiny.  Dip your cookies in chocolate and then add sprinkles.  Allow to sit at room temperature until chocolate hardens.
I hope you'll enjoy these cookies and share with someone you like and/or love.  I'll try not to bombard you all with Valentine's hearts and flowers and pink, but those are some of my favorite things!

1 comment:

  1. You can never go wrong with a good sugar cookie! these look delicious!