March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Shortbread Cookies

Ever since someone put green food coloring into a loaf of bread for St. Patrick’s Day, I have not been a big fan of fake green food. The color does, however, work quite well in these shortbread cookies.


I was planning to make sugar cookies with powdered sugar frosting for St. Patrick’s Day, but when I discovered I would have to make an extra trip to the store just to get powdered sugar, I decided to alter my plan.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy.

Shortbread
½ cup butter, soft
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
This recipe is also very good with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or fresh lime juice½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 ¼ cups flour
6 drops green food color

Beat the butter until soft. Add sugar and continue to beat until light. Add vanilla, almond extract, salt, egg and food color. Mix well. Add flour and stir until combined. Do not over mix.

If you are ambitious and you want to cut shapes, this dough is very easy to work with. You don’t even have to roll it. Just gently flatten it with the palm of your hand on the top of a piece of lightly floured parchment paper. Just be careful not to overwork the dough.

If you don’t have a clover cookie cutter, it is easy to use a small heart shaped cookie cutter instead. Just put three hearts together to form one clover.

If you are in a rush, just make round cookies by shaping the dough into 1-inch balls. Gently flatten each ball with your thumb. The dough should be about ¼ inch thick.

Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn light brown.

Store in an airtight container to keep the shortbread crisp. The vanilla/almond version makes a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot chocolate.