Friday, February 8, 2013

Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies

I often find myself waiting until the day before Halloween or Valentine's Day to make sugar cookies with my kids.  It ends up being something that I'm just trying to squeeze in and a lot of the time it ends of feeling rushed and not as fun as the idea initially sounded.  This year I wanted it to be a bit less rushed and crazy.  I made the dough on Friday and tucked it away in my fridge.  On Saturday afternoon, we rolled, cut, baked, tasted, frosted, sprinkled and tasted some more.  It was the way sugar cookie making should be.  There was a good possibility that Stella may have put more sprinkles in her mouth than on the cookies.  Preston told me he wanted a big bottle of sprinkles for his birthday (just to eat).


Heart Shaped Shortbread Cookies

3 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt, and whisk well.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until flour is just absorbed.  Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a large surface and turn dough onto it.  Gather the dough into a ball and press it into a thick disk.  Wrap well and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a clean, floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of 3/8 inch.  Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into heart shapes.  Place the cookies on the baking sheet and bake them one sheet at a time, keeping the second sheet in the refrigerator until the first one is done.  Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until the edges are pale golden.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pan.

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cherry extract (optional) or 2 teaspoons vanilla
Red food coloring

Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and salt and beat until combined and there are no lumps, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add cherry or vanilla extract and a couple of drops of red food coloring.  Generously spread on fully cooled cookies.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  I like them best served cold (preferably taken out of the freezer a couple of minutes before eating).

*I used the cherry extract when I made the frosting and while I thought they were yummy, next time I will probably leave it out and use vanilla extract in its place.

Recipe changed barely, barely from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

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