Tag Archives: Shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadAs I write this, New York City is expecting snow. It’s hard to believe, considering that it reached 60 degrees on Wednesday, but we are all preparing for ten inches of snow. Schools are set to be closed, Trader Joe’s is out of everything, and everyone has trudged home with their essentials. I’ve got my pound of cornmeal.

Is it snowing where you are? If not, I’m giving you permission to pretend it is. Go put on your softest pajama pants. I’ll wait.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadNow that you’re calling in to work and pretending you’ve got a winter wonderland outside your kitchen window, I think you should make some cookies. What says snow day comfort food more than cookies? Well, maybe Hot Chocolate. But you’ve got to have a cookie to go with it.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadToday, let’s make Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread. It’s crunchy and a little crumbly, studded with nubbly bits of salty pretzel, and dipped in chocolate. It’s what salty-sweet snow day dreams are made of. The shortbread base comes together with minimal ingredients in just a few minutes and has a light caramel flavor that is out. of. this. world. It’s only enhanced by the addition of crushed honey wheat pretzels.

The dough gets pressed into an even layer and briefly frozen before being sliced into bars and baked. You will want to try these shortbread straight from the oven, but you should wait a few extra minutes to dip them in milk chocolate. Let the chocolate set and then grab two. You’re going to want two.Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup crushed honey wheat pretzels

Chocolate Dip:
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until combined. Add vanilla extract and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in pretzels. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment. Place dough in pan. Using another sheet of parchment, press dough into an even layer in the pan. Freeze for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Remove dough from pan to a cutting board and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice it into 24 pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced shortbread at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom racks at the 8 minute mark. Shortbread are done when the edges start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, prepare chocolate dip. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir. Add coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth. Stir in corn syrup. Dip cookies in chocolate one by one, removing any excess with the side of a fork. Lay them on the parchment-lined sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes, or until chocolate is set.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadToday is the sixth day of holiday treats here on E2 Bakes. As far as baked goods go, I’ve posted recipes for Chai Shortbread Snowballs, Lindor Truffle Peanut Butter Blossoms, Gingersnaps, and Eggnog Bundt Cake. I’ve also posted this seriously easy Hot Chocolate Mix, which is great for gifting. Another great food gift idea? Today’s Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadI know that this may not seem much like a typical holiday cookie, but hear me out:

  1. Everybody loves shortbread this time of year. People go crazy for those classic blue tins of the stuff! 
  2. Orange and cardamom are extra delicious in the winter. Warming flavors, y’all.
  3. Pistachios. That is all.
  4. Who doesn’t love homemade cookies? Pair a little tin of these with a box of good tea and hand them out to teachers, coworkers, and others who help make your day-to-day easier. They can keep them for themselves or put them out for guests!
  5. These shortbread are ridiculously easy to make.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadThese little tea cookies are perfect for these last two weeks before Christmas. They’re orangey, nutty, and super buttery. The dough comes together in just a few minutes and is slice-and-bake, so you can make as many or as few cookies as you please. The most difficult part is chopping up the pistachios, but you can skip the cutting board all together and just pulse them in the food processor a few times…although I would much rather wash my knife than the bowl of my food processor 😊

Once the dough is mixed, form it into two logs and wrap them in plastic. Let them chill for a couple of hours before slicing and baking. The pistachios can make this dough a bit challenging to slice, but I’ve got a method that seems to make the process a bit less frustrating.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadFirst of all, use a large, sharp chef’s knife–a sharp blade is crucial to slice-and-bake success. Holding the knife in your dominant hand, use your other hand to gently hold the cookie you are slicing (this will help prevent any breaks). Slice directly down. If the edges of the shortbread rounds crack a bit, just smooth them with your fingers. Lay the sliced cookies on parchment-lined pans and bake for 14-15 minutes, until golden at the edges. Then just let them cool, make yourself a cup of tea, and dunk away!

You and your loved ones will love these Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread! You’ll flip for the warm flavors, crunchy pistachios, and buttery cookie base. When a holiday cookie is this delicious, who cares if it’s traditional?!

Orange Cardamom Pistachio ShortbreadLooking for more shortbread? Check out my Chocolate Chip Shortbread, Vanilla-Almond Shortbread, and Whipped Shortbread Snowballs!

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted pistachio meats

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add sugar and honey and mix until combined. Add in the orange zest and vanilla extract, and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in pistachios. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Divide dough in half. Take one half and lay it on a piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and clean hands, form the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Refrigerate wrapped dough for at least 2 hours, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Unwrap one log of dough. Using a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice the dough in 1/4″ installments and lay them on the prepared pans one-inch apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes, until the tops no longer look doughy and the edges are starting to brown. Unwrap the other log of dough and repeat the slicing and baking process. Let cool on the pans for for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

These keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread

Chai Shortbread Snowballs

Chai Shortbread SnowballsSometimes I make a recipe and like it enough to post it, but then, when I go to make it again, I am disappointed. I feel that way about a few recipes on this site and will be posting better alternatives as we move into 2017.

One that I am out to fix? My Whipped Shortbread Snowballs. They are super buttery and delicious as written, but they are also incredibly fragile. So fragile that coating them in confectioner’s sugar is near impossible. Forget about stacking them in a container or putting them on a cookie tray–they’ll all break. There’s nothing wrong with delicate cookies (I love these Apple Cider Snaps), but I don’t want to make cookies that fall apart the second I go to eat one.

Chai Shortbread SnowballsSo, how am I going to fix that recipe? Like I do most cookies: I’ll add cornstarch. I love cornstarch. It keeps chewy cookies soft, gives my cakes a tender crumb, and it makes my Chocolate Cream Pie nice and sliceable. Here, it adds just enough structure to these cookies to keep them from crumbling without fundamentally altering the crispy, melty texture. Cornstarch is magic, I tell you. If you want to make a better, sturdier version of my Whipped Shortbread Snowballs, add 1/4 cup of cornstarch when you add the confectioner’s sugar, then follow the recipe as written. Voilà! They’ll still melt in your mouth, but they won’t crumble all over your floors.

Chai Shortbread SnowballsChai Shortbread SnowballsChai Shortbread SnowballsI could leave it at that, basically posting the same recipe twice in a year, but that’s not really my style. Today’s shortbread take that classic recipe and turn it up a bit with the addition of chai. Black tea leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and black pepper (yes, black pepper!) are blitzed into the flour before its mixed with the whipped butter, confectioner’s sugar, and cornstarch. The resulting cookies have all the flavors of your favorite chai tea latte. Coat them in more confectioner’s sugar for that signature holiday cookie look and watch them disappear at your next holiday party!Chai Shortbread Snowballs

Chai Shortbread Snowballs
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon black tea leaves (I use PG Tips)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Coating:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 275F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine flour, tea leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, black pepper, and salt. Process about 15-20 seconds, until tea leaves are broken down. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch, and mix for 1 minute. Turn mixer to high and beat for 6 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in two installments.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 14 minutes before rotating pans from top to bottom racks. Bake an additional 12-14 minutes.

Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small-medium mixing bowl. Gently coat each cookie in confectioner’s sugar before placing it on a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Chai Shortbread Snowballs

Whipped Shortbread Snowballs

 I love shortbread. Have you noticed? I’ve only been blogging regularly for five weeks and have already posted a chocolate chip version and a vanilla-almond version. What can I say? I love butter. So, here’s a third shortbread recipe. Now, before you go thinking that I’m a one-trick baker, you should know that this recipe is different. It’s special. Where the other two recipes are thin and crisp, this shortbread is whipped to high heaven and then baked in a low oven until it is just barely baked through. The cookies won’t turn golden–they’ll just be puffy and airy and buttery and magical. Then they’re coated in confectioner’s sugar, which makes their texture even silkier, and has the added benefit of making them look like little snowballs! I hate this term, but these are the kind of cookies that melt in your mouth. They’ll be absolutely divine on a holiday cookie tray.  This recipe is anything but complicated, but it does require some precision in the mixing. Let two sticks of butter soften to room temperature. You want them just soft enough to give a little when pressed with a clean finger. Don’t let them get melty at all. Our apartment stays cold in the fall and winter no matter how high we turn the heat, so here’s what I do. I cut the butter into 1/2 inch pats, set them on a plate, and then let them sit for 45 minutes to an hour. Perfectly softened butter every time. Once the butter is soft, place it in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer for two solid minutes. Then, add in 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar, and beat again until it is completely combined. Do not use granulated sugar here–the cornstarch in the confectioner’s sugar is required if you want a smooth texture. And trust me, you want that texture. Add in a touch of vanilla extract, and beat it again.  Now, make sure you have everything you need for the next seven-or-so minutes because you’re in it for the long haul. Beat in the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. And then, keep beating. Beat some more. Beat even more than that. Once the flour is incorporated, you need to beat the dough for six minutes, and no less. This is what makes this shortbread “whipped.” We want this dough to be lighter than air. So, even if it looks like a cloud in a bowl at four minutes, keep going to six. As shortbread has no leavening (hence why it’s “short”), we need all the air we can get into the dough so that our final cookies are domed and gorgeous. The dough, whipped for six full minutes, will look and feel like the fluffiest frosting ever.     

 Use a small cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake them at 275F for 28-32 minutes. Yes, that seems like eternity for cookies, but we aren’t so much baking these cookies as we are drying them out. Once they are just baked through, let them cool on the pans and then on a rack. I like to coat these in confectioner’s sugar because it makes them look like snowballs! Be extremely gentle as whipped shortbread are very delicate.

This recipe is an excellent base for many holiday cookies, and you will definitely see it again before the Twelve Days of Cookies are over. Whipped Shortbread Snowballs will be a welcome presence at any cookie exchange or holiday party, and would make a delightful holiday gift. De-light-ful. See what I did there?

*crickets*

Anyway… Put Whipped Shortbread Snowballs on your shortlist for holiday baking. “Short” list! Get it?

*more crickets*

Whatever. I think I’m funny.

Need more holiday cookie recipes? Check out my Eggnog Sandwich Cookies and Red Velvet Peppermintdoodles, and come back for nine more cookie recipes before December 25th!  Whipped Shortbread Snowballs
barely adapted from Whipped Shortbread by The Kitchen Magpie
makes about three dozen cookies

Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Coating:
1 1/2-2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 275F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, cream the butter for two minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla. Add in flour in two installments. Continue beating dough for 6 minutes, until extremely light and fluffy.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough onto prepared pans, leaving 2 inches between dough balls. Bake for 28-32 minutes until cookies are baked, but not golden brown at all. Let cool on the pans for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. You may serve these plain, or coat them.

To coat the shortbread, place 1 1/2-2 cups of confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. Gently coat each cookie in the confectioner’s sugar to coat completely before placing them back on the rack.

Whipped Shortbread Snowballs will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week. The coating may sink into the cookies, but that is easily remedied by coating them again. Enjoy!

Whipped Shortbread Snowballs

Vanilla-Almond Shortbread Cookies

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My first blog post centered around my dad’s love of chocolate, particularly brownies. While my whole family loves it when he makes brownies, I neglected to mention one thing: my mom doesn’t like chocolate all that much. She can take it or leave it. She doesn’t hate it. She just doesn’t love it. My parents have been happily married for 32 years, raised three daughters and two miniature schnauzers, and this is probably the biggest thing they disagree on.

For years, my mom never mentioned this. I remember many birthdays where my little sister and I gave her boxes of Russell Stover Chocolate Covered Cherries, having zero idea that she didn’t love chocolate. A few years ago, she revealed the truth to me over a ritual ice cream lunch date: she’s a vanilla person. That’s not to say she’s boring. No, my mom is anything but boring. The woman is fearless. She’s the kind of person who isn’t afraid to travel around the country with sixty teenagers in tow. She’s the kind of person who, upon finding out that Justin Timberlake’s mom is her friend’s neighbor and JT himself is visiting, will scream “JUUUUUSTIIIIIN!” like a banshee in an effort to get his autograph for her diehard *NSYNC fan daughters. My mom works a full-time job, takes a two mile walk with the dog, makes dinner for my dad, and still takes the time to have an hour phone conversation with you about whether it’s appropriate to wear velveteen pants to a black tie event. She’s the kind of mom that your friends absolutely love, and the kind of mom that is friends with her adult children first and foremost. Bottom line: my mom straight-up rules. And today is her birthday, so let’s make her something vanilla.

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I’ve been on a shortbread kick lately. As the weather is (sort of, not really) starting to turn cooler in New York, I have been drinking a lot of tea. Obviously that requires cookies. Really buttery, crunchy cookies. And, since we’re giving my mom a cookie shout-out, let’s make them vanilla-almond and slice-and-bake. I think she’d approve.

These vanilla-almond shortbread are a breeze to put together. We cream butter and sugar together before adding in vanilla bean paste and just a touch of almond extract. Then we mix in flour and salt, followed by sliced almonds. Next, we form the dough into two logs, wrap them in plastic wrap, and throw them in the fridge for a little bit. Then we just slice them and bake at 325F for 14-17 minutes. All that’s left to do is make a pot of tea and dunk away.

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Vanilla-Almond Shortbread Cookies keep very well at room temperature for at least a week. This makes them perfect for your cookie jar, holiday gifting, or shipping a box to your mom since you can’t be there for her birthday this year.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you more than chocolate.

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Vanilla-Almond Shortbread Cookies
makes about five dozen

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste*
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract*
1/2 cup sliced almonds, optional

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add sugar and mix until it is completely combined with the butter. Add in the vanilla bean paste and almond extract, and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in sliced almonds. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Divide dough in half. Take one half and lay it on a piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and clean hands, form the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Refrigerate wrapped dough for at least 45 minutes, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Unwrap one log of dough. Using a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice the dough in 1/4″ installments and lay them on the prepared pans at least one-inch apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the tops no longer look doughy and the edges are starting to brown. Let cool on the pans for for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

These keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have vanilla bean paste, or simply don’t want to use it, you may use the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean in addition to one teaspoon of vanilla extract. If you do not want to use vanilla bean at all, you may use two teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  2. If you would like a more pronounced almond flavor, you may use 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. Be careful though–almond extract is very potent.