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Christmas Shortbread 5 Ways

shortbread

I love baking  and making a mess in the kitchen. I don’t love cleaning up the mess so much though, but that is irrelevant right now. During the summer I am busy and spend nearly every waking moment outside so don’t do anything time consuming or elaborate in the kitchen. This time of year however is s different story. With the colder days spent indoors along with the holiday cheer it is the perfect time to bake up some yummy treats. Shortbread has long been one of my favorite Christmas cookies. I start with the recipe that my mom made every year when I was growing up which was passed to her from her grandmother. Then I get creative and improvise to make new concoctions! They are so fun to make because there are so many variations to try. Here is a sampling of five different flavors that I have tried. I made all these several years ago and haven’t actually started any Christmas cookie baking yet this year. But just typing this up is inspiring me with all sorts of new flavors to try! Almond or Lemon/ginger or Cardamom/pistachio or… Mmm… I can’t wait to start baking!

I usually use my great grandmothers basic recipe, then adjust it to my fancy.

What about you,do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? Is there a story behind the recipe? Please share!

Basic Shortbread Recipe

1 Cup Butter
1/2-3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and mix until combined. I usually end up using my hands. If dough is too sticky add a bit more flour.
On a well floured board roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie trays. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 -14 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Shortbread Recipe Variations

Now for the fun part! These are the varieties I made this year. There are many other possibilities.

1. Ginger Spice
Add to basic recipe and mix well:

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger

Dip in melted white chocolate

2. Hazelnut
Add to basic recipe and mix well:

2 Tbsp. maple syrup (use the smaller amount of sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Cup finely chopped hazelnuts

Dip or drizzle with melted milk chocolate

3. Peppermint
Add to basic recipe and mix well:

1-2 tsp. peppermint extract

a few crushed candy canes may be added for color, but be careful not to add too many as they will melt and spread out the cookies while baking

Dip in melted dark or white chocolate.

4. Coffee
Add to basic recipe and mix well:

2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Dip or drizzle in dark chocolate.

5. Orange

Add to basic recipe and mix well:

1-2 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. orange zest

Dip in dark chocolate.

I cut each variety with a different cookie cutter. It is fun and makes it easier to tell them apart.

In case you were wondering which ones are which in the pictures.

Hearts; hazelnut
Stars; coffee
Trees; peppermint
Angels; orange
Gingerbread boys; ginger spice

hearts

stars

chocolate drizzle

chocolate dipped

 

 

 

 

 

 

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