Friday, March 23, 2012
Bee Treeats:White Queen/Red Queen Shortbread Hearts
Welcome to a new feature: Bee Treeats, where I'll be featuring yummy recipes that have either appeared in a recent post or in our kitchen. Today I'll kick things off by sharing a new weakness- shortbread! My fondness for shortbread is newly acquired, starting with this Elvish lembas bread for a Lord of the Rings birthday. It was so good- I was hooked!
I have used great restraint to not whip up a batch every weekend. I waited until the next birthday to make it- in the form of these beautiful heart cookies, courtesy of the Joy of Baking website (and only slightly modified by me). The colors went with our wonderland theme perfectly, and a double batch made exactly enough cookies for each guest to have one. These are thick cookies (but that didn't stop me from eating mine AND one left behind by someone else- oh, the hardships of being a hostess!). The tartness of the raspberry jam balances the buttery richness of the cookie quite nicely- but feel free to experiment with jam flavors if raspberry isn't your thing.
Raspberry White Chocolate Shortbreads
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/4-1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 oz white chocolate, grated
Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated- you don't want to overbeat at this point, or you will end up with tough cookies. flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick (I used two rulers wrapped in plastic wrap to make them an even thickness. You can also use paint stirrers wrapped the same way). Using a 2"-3" cookie cutter (heart, round square) cut out the dough. Use a smaller cookie cutter (3/4"-1") in the same shape to cut out the centers of half of the cookies (this forms the "window" in the sandwich cookie). Place the cut cookies (and small cut outs) on one baking sheet, and the solid cookies on another. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes so the dough firms up and doesn't spread too much when you bake. When chilled, bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly. Cool on a wire rack.
To assemble cookies:
Place cookies with the cut-outs on a wire rack and dust the tops with powdered sugar.
Flip the uncut cookies over, and spread 1/4-1/2 t of jam on the bottom of the cookie. When assembled, the cookies will be placed bottom to bottom. Sprinkle with a little grated white chocolate. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, making sure not to smudge the powdered sugar. Using a small spoon, fill the cut-out with a little more jam- making sure to not over-fill.
Yield: About 12 sandwich cookies. (plus some little snack size cut outs!)
***You can store the unassembled cookies for several days in an airtight container. It is best, though, to assemble the cookies the same day as serving in order to keep the cookies crisp. Alternatively, on days where you don't want the hassle, skip the filling and just cut out cookies- either way, they are a great treeat!