Monday, December 15, 2008

ModernGear Food: Shortbread 4 Ways

Today's post comes to us again from the wonderful, the talented, the beautiful, (and gentlemen readers, the single), Santa's Little Helper herself, Kathryn of Kiki's Kitchen!

Kathryn is very well known in her circle of family and friends for her baking prowess. Like, if you have any pressing cookie questions, she's your go-to girl.
My advice? Bake these for inexpensive but full-of-love gifts, and wrap them up in pretty packaging.

And now, we bake!


I used to painstakingly roll this dough out and cut fun shapes and sprinkle them with red and green sugar before baking, but then one year I tried something different and have been doing that "something different" ever since.

Here is the recipe for the plain shortbread dough.

Preheat oven to 325 and prepare cookie sheets as always with parchment or a Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat for easy clean-up, etc.

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios
8 ounces milk chocolate
candy canes, crushed

Before you begin, assemble your sous-chefs.
Scout and Maggie model the latest in winter wear.

1. Cream butter, sugar and salt until fluffy and then slowly mix in flour being careful not to over-mix (as with all flour-based dough, too much mixing results in a tough cookie).

Girly-girl bakers like Kiki have pink mixers!
2. Separate the dough into 4 equal parts.
3. Mix the cranberries into one part, the pecans into another and the pistachios into the third, leaving the fourth as is.
Aw nuts! Into the dough, they go.

4. One dough at a time, roll tablespoon amounts of dough in your hands and place 2 inches apart on the sheet and then press down gently with a fork.
Pre-fork squish.

After fork squish.

Plain, after fork squish.

5. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (CRUCIAL step!).
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done (don't let them brown and they will continue to cook once you take them out of the oven, trust me).
7. Place them on a cooling rack, either a single one or if you're an uber baker, like this one: Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack.
8. When all the cookies have been baked, melt the milk chocolate and dip the plain cookies half into the chocolate and then dunk into the crushed candy canes. Of course you can go ahead and dunk any of the cookies into the chocolate and go ahead and use dark or white (though I think that white chocolate is wrong on so many levels) (Tamara says - I COULD NOT AGREE MORE!!) and have fun with it.

A little dip'll do ya.

Another variation is to add orange zest to the pecan or the cranberries or try using dried cherries or blueberries or any other chopped nuts that you or your family likes.



Kathryn said...

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of that glass of red wine when baking these cookies!!


ModernGear TV said...

Aaah! I was going to make a comment about that myself in the post but forgot, so I am glad you pointed that out. Like, the cookies won't really be very good if that step is missed, right?! Seems to happen with me!

Ms.Barbara Jane said...

Great Post!
Yummy looking cookies too.
I noticed the wine too. Good call.