•Do you love shortbread cookies as much as me? Have you ever had chocolate shortbread cookies…..me either. These beauties are dark in color and deep in chocolate, buttery flavor. You can cut them out in any shape using cookie cutters or a knife and frost with royal icing-for that professional glossy look that won’t smush when stacked, or use your favorite frosting recipe, and decorate with a variety of sprinkles, nonpareils, and glitters. These are another cute gift idea, wrapped up in a cellophane bag or small box. You can also make them into ornaments with a ribbon.Adapted from food and wine magazine 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter-softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 2/3 cup Hershy’s special dark cocoa powder-it’s a mix of unsweetened and Dutch processed cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 scant tsp kosher salt-scant means not quite a full measurement (like 3/4 tsp) makes a couple dozen-depending on the size of cookie cutters prep and decorating time-3 hours 350° royal icing 4 cups powdered sugar 3 tbls meringue powder-can get at specialty cooking stores (Michael’s Crafts carries it) and some grocery stores 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 5-6 tbls warm water-start with 5 tbls and add 1 tsp at a time after that. You want this to be thick enough to be able to pipe and hold a solid line liquid or gel food coloring In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour in the powdered sugar and meringue powder-mix. Add the vanilla extract and 5 tbls water-mix and scrape the sides. Keep adding water, 1 tsp at a time, until it’s the consistency you desire. You want the base royal icing to be thick enough to hold a solid line. Divide into separate bowls and color with food coloring. Transfer the colored icing into piping bags or squeeze bottles. Basics to using royal icing 1. outline the cookie with the base, unthinned icing 2. let dry 3. flood (fill) with a thinner icing that is slightly runny (a toothpick is very handy to help spread) 4. add sprinkles or glitter while wet or let dry and add dots of royal icing for a 3d look 5. have fun and be creative, there are no rules!!! Here is what I used. Back to the cookies-In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened butter. Cream until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the vanilla-mix. Slowly add in the cocoa-mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the scant tsp of salt-mix. Use less then I did Slowly add the flour-do not over mix. Put half of the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour if needed, I avoided doing so because I didn’t want the white on the dark cookies. It didn’t stick at all to the paper. Lay another piece of parchment on top. Use a rolling pin to flatten evenly to 1/4 inch thick. Rotate the paper as you roll to make it easier. Repeat these same steps with the other half of the dough using two new sheets of parchment paper. Place both doughs, still inside of the parchment on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge for 1 hour. You can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or wrap in plastic and keep in freezer for 1 month. Before you start cutting cookies, make sure that the dough isn’t rock hard. Let sit at room temp until pliable. Cut the cookies with whatever cookie cutters you like, I chose snowflakes and stars. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and pop back in the fridge for 30 min. Pre heat oven to 350° Bake cookies for 14 min, rotating pans halfway through. Let sit on baking sheets 5 min before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before decorating. Baked, undecorated cookies can be frozen for 1 month. Decorated cookies can be stored in an airtight container on the counter for 1 week. Give away as gifts or save for Santa♥Enjoy
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