There are days when you can eat healthy all day long, and then there are days when you need the richest, most buttery cookie you know of — dipped in chocolate.
Yesterday was one of those days.
I’ll skip the details, and get to the good part: When the chips are down, there’s nothing like a good, rich shortbread to make you feel better about life. For me, this is a cookie I normally would only make at the holidays, but that’s exactly why it was good to make now. No ordinary cookie was going to do.
In my case, I took my basic shortbread recipe and decided to add some orange zest — but why stop there? I also added some Orange Oil, since I love the flavor punch those oils add (I wasn’t in the mood for being subtle).
Then, I had some walnuts at the bottom of the bag, and ground those up, just because, and then added some cinnamon, because I like cinnamon, and it seemed like it would work with everything else.
The basic recipe is as follows:
- 3/4 cup softened, unsalted butter (I like Kirkland Unsalted butter, which has a decent fat content, but a Keri-Gold or similar would be even better).
- 1/2 tsp extract of your choice (I did only 1/4 tsp of the essential oil, since it is very intensely flavored)
- 1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Sugar, which is different than non-organic — uses Tapioca Starch instead of Corn Starch for a nicer texture)
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
Preheat your oven to 325F, using the middle rack.
First put the butter in and whip it until it is very light and fluffy (this will take some stopping and scraping down)
Then add your other items — and anything else you wish — for me, it was the walnuts, orange zest and cinnamon, but let your imagination guide you. Mix until combined.
If you have a shortbread pan, spray it with nonstick coating, or do the same with any pan you have — a pie dish, 8″ or 9″ cake pan, etc will do as well. I used my decorative shortbread pan.
My method to get the sticky dough into the pan is to flatten it as much as possible with my hands, and then I take some plastic wrap and something that will roll within the confines of the pan — in this case, a spice jar — and work the dough until it’s flat and even, also trying to push it down so the designs will take as much as possible.
When you have done this, put it in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or just until it is turning a very nice golden brown. My designs show somewhat, but I wasn’t too worried about that.
Take it out, and set aside for 20-30 min in the pan. At that point, put a cutting board over the top of the tray and flip, then set it down hard on the counter to punch the cookie out of the pan. It should take just one good rap.
Cut pieces with a knife per the pan separations or however you want, if making a freestyle cookie.
I chose to dip mine in quick-tempered chocolate (video here). That took several hours to dry on a humid, rainy day. You could also drizzle, dunk, use different chocolates, add nuts… whatever your mood requires. For these, my flavors were right on — the orange was just right, and the walnuts added to the texture. The spice was subtle, and the chocolate — well, that can never be wrong, right?
I hope you’ll make yourself some of these delicious treats and share your results and any flavorings you put together — happy baking!