For Valentines Day I decided to keep it simple and bake a batch of fresh and crisp short breads for my hubby! Mostly because they are extremely easy and quick to make and secondly cause I have had my hands full lately with a lot many feats. The only twist I added to my extremely brittle and soft short breads was that, I did them in different shapes and decided to frost a few with icing; which by the way was not a very great decision. It is better to make sugar cookies if you wish to frost them, cause as I mentioned earlier short breads are very brittle and soft and are not ideal ground for holding gooey icing.
So anyway, apart from doing regular and scalloped hearts, I got this funny idea of making love struck frog faces! This idea may have sprung in my head cause I ended up watching “Princess and the frog” twice this last week, so when I saw the cowboy hat cookie cutter I saw a frog face and decided to have fun with it
I found working with cookie icing very messy and sticky, that may be because I haven’t really worked with it before and secondly cause I didn’t follow the right proportions (I know, my bad!)…but well …..so they weren’t exactly master pieces but well I am only learning :)
Scottish in origin, this rich, tender and crumbly straw colored biscuit (cookie) was once only served during Christmas and New Year's Eve (Hogmanay). In its most basic form, shortbreads are made with just four ingredients, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour. While today they are made in various shapes and sizes, at one time the dough was baked in a round mold and then cut into wedges that were given the name "petticoat tails". This name refers to the shape of the shortbread wedges which were similar to the bell-hoop petticoats worn by court ladies in the 12th century.
The secret to making a good shortbread is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract.
I am borrowing the recipe directly from joy of baking, my bible for baking
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1. In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.)
5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.