Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shortbread Sugar Cookies

My contribution to the Friday Night Football tailgate this week was shortbread sugar cookies. The recipe comes from The Pastry Queen cookbook by Rebecca Rather. In the cookbook, the recipe is actually Pretty-in-Pink Shortbread Pigs, and the cookies are cutout pigs with pink icing. I turned the dough into squares decorated with orange and white instead (to save time and because orange is the color of the Palmyra Panthers).

The first thing I need to tell you about this recipe is that it is EASY. Much easier than any other sugar cookies I have made before. The hardest part is remembering to leave the butter out long enough to reach room temperature. The results were much better as well; the cookies are tender, sweet, and buttery. I'm contemplating the addition of a pinch of salt next time I make this recipe, but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing.

Shortbread Sugar Cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Powdered Sugar Icing
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, or grease generously with butter or cooking spray. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture, beating on low speed. Stop beating as soon as the flour is incorporated (overbeating will make cookies tough).
2. Form the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (I was in a hurry and only refrigerated for 15-20 minutes and it was fine) before rolling it out. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. On a flat, smooth, floured surface, roll chilled dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the cookies with desired cookie cutter (or cut them into squares/rectangles - I used a pizza wheel for this). Use a spatula to transfer to prepared baking sheets, placing 1/2 inch apart. Combine dough scraps and reroll to cut more cookies (reroll only once, otherwise cookies will be tough due to overhandling). Any subsequent scraps can be formed into a log, wrapped with plastic wrap, and frozen . . . cut 1/4 inch thick slices off the log to make round cookies.
4. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, or until light brown around the edges. Cool cookies 10 minutes on the baking sheet; remove with a spatula and transfer to cooling racks.
5. When cookies have cooled, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and food coloring to make icing. Either dip cookies in icing or spoon icing onto cookies and smooth with back of spoon.

Note (1): Cookies can be stored (when icing is completely dry) in an airtight container for up to a week or tightly wrapped in the freezer for 1 month. Prior to baking, prepared dough can be kept in ghe refrigerator 1 week or freezer 1 month.
Note(2): If you are going to bake all the cookies at once, I recommend doubling the icing recipe.
- Recipe from the Pastry Queen/Rebecca Rather


Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this. Its one I'll certainly try soon! I think my "kids", ages 25 and 24, would love it. ;)

Step Right Up said...

Two of my favorite cookies are shortbread and sugar. How great to combine them! And I think I can find all organic ingredients to make these, too.

Megan said...

These look SOOOO good. And everything you make looks like it turns out to perfection! If only I could find a substitute for butter:(

Lesley said...

Awesome cookies! I loved them and they are easy to make!