02.09.2016

Bake Up Some Love

This blog is not, normally, a place where you’ll find culinary tips or new recipes. And for good reason. Remember the Mac-n-Cheese post last summer? Drain the fat and then add it…

Yeah.

But with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought we might venture into the kitchen once again and bake up a little love. Because who doesn’t love cookies? Or, perhaps more to the point, who doesn’t love easy cookies? (Particularly when the Bible verse that you would be holding up, if you ever got on TV at an NFL game, is Leviticus 3:16: All the fat belongs to the Lord.)

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Anyhow.

You can whip up these simple shortbread hearts in minutes, and then let em chill for an hour or two before rolling them out. (And here’s some good news for the busy baker: NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN if you get distracted and forget you are making cookies, and you wind up leaving the dough in the fridge overnight.)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • a heart-shaped cookie cutter

Here’s what you do (and I use a stand mixer, but a hand-held will work just fine):

  1. Mix the butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the flour and salt, and then the vanilla, and beat well.
  3. Gather the dough into a ball (scrape down the sides of the bowl) and wrap it in something like Press-n-Seal. (Wax paper works, too, or even a zip-lock baggie.) Put the dough ball in the fridge for at least an hour. Maybe even two. Or whatever.
  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. (Some people like fatter shortbread cookies, so 1/2-inch is fine…you might just need to bake em a little longer). Use your cookie cutter to make heart shapes and place the cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes (you don’t want shortbread to “brown” so take a peek at about the 17-minute mark).
  7. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and dust with additional powdered sugar if you like that look.

Depending on the size of your cookie cutter (mine is about two inches long), this recipe yields at least 30 cookies, meaning that you can show the love to at least one other person. And if you don’t have a heart shaped cutter, no worries. Hillary (who requested the theme from Jurrasic Park as part of her wedding prelude) got a set of dinosaur cookie cutters as a shower gift, and I am sure they will work just fine. Better, maybe. Because nothing says I love you like a plate of shortbread stegosauruses and a night at home with Netflix.