Cut-Out Shortbread Cookies

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If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s already mid-October. Amazing how time flies. It is now time for holiday season food and themes! At least in my house…

This weekend my younger brother and I made these cookies and spent quite a while decorating them. I wanted to practice decorating for future Christmas cookie baking, and he jumped in on the fun. We cranked the music up in the kitchen and went to work. He kept trying to make me laugh when I was trying to keep my hand steady!

While most of our humor was inappropriate, I will share one amusing subject: the brachiosaurus cookie cutter. This small-brained sauropod was the muse for some cookie cutter maker…who also happened to make its head ridiculously tiny. Quite frankly, when pressed into cookie dough, the dino looks like the most stupid species ever.

The icing recipe is perfect for these tender, buttery shortbread cut-outs. All that’s in it is powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. The mixture dries in a thin, smooth layer, but is not rock-hard. I wanted to try the flooding technique for decorating cookies, so I divided my icing recipe and made one half thicker by adding more powdered sugar. I also used food coloring paste for tinting my icing.

To “flood” a cookie, fill a pastry bag fitted with a fine tip with the thicker icing. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can make your own by snipping a tiny corner off of a plastic sandwich bag. Pipe a thin line of frosting along the border of the cookie. Next, either fill another pastry bag with the thinner icing, or gently spoon it, onto the surface of the cookie. Carefully tilt the cookie or use a tiny metal spatula to cover the cookie in the icing. The piped border will keep the thin icing from spilling over the edges, and the icing will dry smooth. They will look professional!

Let the cookies sit, without touching or stacking, for at least 2 hours until the icing has set.

Shortbread Cookies (from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)

  • 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 powedered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

In a large bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture, stirring on low speed. Stop beating as soon as the flour mixture is completely incorporated (overbeating will produce a tough cookie).

Form the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling it out. When ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a flat, smooth floured surface, roll the chilled dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out the cookies with chosen cookie cutter(s). Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a greased baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown around the edges. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove with a spatula and cool compleely on racks before icing.

To make the icing, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, extract, and food coloring.

For a quicker way to ice the cookies, dip them face down in the icing and set the cookies, icing side up, on parchment paper. Let the icing harden before continuing to decorate.

Yield: Depending on the size of the cookies, the yield will vary. This recipe makes approximately 20 four inch cookies.

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There Are 10 Responses So Far. »

  1. An excerpt from Wikipedia.org: “More recently, scientists have argued that the heart would have had trouble sustaining sufficient blood pressure to oxygenate the brain…”
    along with
    “With such a large body mass, combined with a long neck, physiologists encounter problems determining how these animals managed to breathe…”

    I think it’s safe to be said that our tasty sauropod is indeed stupid.

  2. Also, try using the Auto function on your camera when taking above-over shots of the vibrant cookies, the pictures can look grainy when in manual all the time.

  3. […] If you choose to decorate these cookies, I recommend the powdered sugar icing I also use for Cut-Out Shortbread Cookies. […]

  4. […] Shortbread Cookies (from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather) […]

  5. […] If you choose to decorate these cookies, I recommend the powdered sugar icing I also use for Cut-Out Shortbread Cookies. […]

  6. These sound and look fantastic – just what I am searching for. Will try and report back – thank you – gorgeous pictures!!

  7. These cookies are so buttery, and hold their shape well. The only problem I ran into was rolling the dough. It fell apart easily, and stuck to surfaces that were covered in flour. Otherwise, they ended up delish!

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    visit the website, that’s what this site is providing.

  9. Just made these and they are delicious! Not too sweet and lots of flavor. They hold their shape really well! I think the key is NOT using flour to roll them out… I used parchment paper. Thanks for the tip!

  10. These are the best shortbread cookies I have ever had. I rolled my dough between plastic wrap and it came out perfect.’thank you!

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