Daring Baker - November 2012: Twelve Days of Cookies
Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.
I normally have a strict rule about not making christmas cookies, before we reach christmas time. I tend to think that shops get into the christmas decoration and products way too soon, and I only get "christmasy" when the advent time starts, so basically 4 weeks before christmas.
But as this month challenge was a little on that theme, I had to be flexible, but I choose a recipe that I don't necessarily link with the holiday season: Piped shortbread. To me shortbreads are more linked to Scotland, I bought Walkers as a child because of the tartan packaging and than kept on buying them because I liked them so much.
So it's been long overdue that I do some myself! It is a fragile cookie, so leave it to cool before moving it, and even then, do it with caution. A good handmixer or a standmixer is a must here, unless you have really good upper strenght, something I personnaly don't have.
About 40 Cookies (depending on the size)
225 gm softened butter
175 gm all-purpose (plain) flour
65 gm confectioners' sugar
45 gm cornflour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla essence
1. Preheat the oven to moderate 150°C
2. Combine butter, flours, vanilla and confectioner's sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater. Mix on low speed until combined and then change to the whisk beater.
3. Beat for 10 minutes.
4. Pipe into rings.
5. Decorate with maraschino cherry pieces to look like little wreaths or leave plain.
6. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.
7. Cool completely and drizzle with melted chocolate or icing (frosting) if you want to.
Important Tips I have learnt since I did the Food Talk Article:
To pipe shortbread beat for 10 minutes NO MORE – if you overbeat the mixture it won’t hold when it cooks.
A cool oven is important. If your oven is too hot the butter and sugar boils and you end up with lacy cookies that fall apart as soon as you try to do anything with them.
Between piping put the bowl and the piping bag away from your oven so it doesn’t get hot but don’t put it in the refrigerator because it gets too cold and you can’t pipe it.