Last night I made shortbread cookies for the very first time...this was a very good decision!
These cookies are DREAMY!!!
I chose to make Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe, because everything I've made of hers has always made me look like a better cook than I really am! These cookies are so easy to make, and they are incredibly buttery, light and delicious!!! My husband loves shortbread cookies, and he went wild over these! Well, we both did!
These cookies are "deceptively light", as Mr. Cozy said, because of all the butter that's actually in them! I've been wanting to make these for some time, so I thought what's a better time to try a new cookie recipe than at Christmas?!?
So after sugaring half of them and dipping the the other half batch of cookies in tempered semisweet Scharffen Berger chocolate we had to indulge in a couple while watching The Holiday in front of the fire last night. Sigh. Perfect night with my hubby!
Today we're enjoying just a couple more with milk and are now going to our neighbor's homes to deliver the rest! What is better than receiving a surprise tin of homemade cookies around Christmas-time, and perhaps in return you get to spend a little time with people you don't often see! After that, we will be having a wrapping "party". Sounds more fun that way, right?!
The Barefoot Contessa's Shortbread Cookies
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
(I also used some sparkling sugar for sprinkling)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 to 7 ounces "very good" semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
(I used about 4 oz. because I wanted to leave half the batch plain.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined.
Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
(This sifter has seen better days...)
Add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture.
Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.
Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter.
I used a 1 1/2 in. round biscuit cutter instead.
Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put half of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
(This method is tempering. It prevents the chocolate from burning and ensures a very smooth and glossy finish even after cooled.)
Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.
Eat up or Give Away--Either way, you'll get pleasure!