As Christmas fast approaches, I am still in a house of renovating madness. Every morning I am greeted by the lovely sounds of saws and nail guns. It's a wonderful way to start the day, I highly recommend it (can you hear the sarcasm through the computer?). Well, anyway, the holidays go on. So, I will do what I do on every holiday, bake cookies. Today, I'm talking about shortbread cookies.
I absolutely love shortbread cookies. How could I not, they're basically butter and sugar? Oh well, my philosophy is "I'd rather have a little something delicious than a lot of something diet". These cookies fall into that category. It's true, they're a splurge, but it is Christmastime after all, so splurge away!
CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (leave out on the counter til soft)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (pure, no imitation stuff here!)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 squares of white almond bark
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar (that just means mix it on medium-high speed til it's fluffy).
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Next, add the flour and mix on medium low speed until combined. You will see it start to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a surface covered with wax paper. I use a cutting board or sometimes just my counter top.
Form the dough (using your very clean hands, aka the best tools you have) into a rectangle that's about a 1/4 inch thick.
Using a pizza cutter (or a knife), cut the dough in half vertically and then horizontally.
You'll have four sections. Cut each section into thirds. This will leave you with 12 rectangular cookies.
Use a fork to poke a few holes into the dough. This is decorative, but it also helps the cookies rise evenly.
Gently place each cookie onto a baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between them (because they will spread while baking).
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Don't over bake these!
Let them cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. If you don't have a rack, don't sweat it. Just take them off the hot baking sheet and put them on a cool one. The rack just lets air circulate around the cookies so they cool faster.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, melt the almond bark. I put it into a coffee mug and microwave it for 30 seconds, then stir. If it's not totally melted, microwave it for another 15 seconds and stir again. You want it to be fully melted and smooth.
Once the almond bark is melted, carefully dip each cookie to coat the end. I say carefully because they are very delicate cookies and will break easily. Just dip the end and then lay it on some wax paper and decorate with sprinkles (do it quickly because the almond bark starts to set up fast).
Let them sit until the almond bark sets, which doesn't take long. If you don't want to dip them, you can drizzle the melted almond bark over the top and then decorate with sprinkles.
This recipe makes 12 cookies. It is very easy to double if you want to make more. Put these in a cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon and you've got a great hostess gift.
These are very festive and delicious! A great Christmas cookie!