Shortbread Snowflakes

With Christmas around the corner and families staying put, it’s beginning to look a lot like a different kind of holiday season. Lots of things are up in the air and I’m not talking flying.  Life as we knew it is a little blurry right now.  I’m trying to look at the positive, but with so many small businesses getting shut down again and struggling to survive, it can become dispiriting. “This won’t last forever,” encouraging as it sounds…is not soon enough.  We should help to save lives while also saving livelihoods. We have to take care of ourselves the best we can.  Little things here and there help to uplift our spirits. 

So I’ve made cookies.  Lots of cookies.  Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin with Indian spices, Thumbprint with Jam, Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chunk and finally holiday shortbread.  The one with the least amount of ingredients and the most challenging. 

This one is a Martha Stewart original.  The only thing I’ve changed is instead of using granulated sugar I’ve substituted with organic cane sugar.  They’re really yummy.  My added touches: some are cut out round and sprinkled with chili cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar.  Or; should you decide to melt chocolate, you can dip half the cookies in the chocolate, as shown.

Shortbread Cookies with Cardamom

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground *cardamom

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar (original recipe calls for using granulated).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Whisk flour, salt & cardamom in a medium bowl.

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in Vanilla.

Reduce to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture.

Press the dough into a 10” x 15” rimmed baking sheet on top of parchment paper. (the recipe doesn’t call for this but this way turns out being a lot easier to work with the cookie dough).

Press parchment paper onto surface and smooth top.  Remove top parchment; wrap sheet in plastic.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.  This will help the dough become harder and therefore easier to cut into cookie shapes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using snowflake (and other) cookie shape cutters, cut out cookies, and arrange by size on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with sanding (icing) sugar.  Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Let cool on sheets on wire rack.

You can freeze what you don’t immediately eat.  I freeze all my cookies.  Once thawed they’re as good as new.  Enjoy!

*Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. Cardamom pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section. The pods contain a number of seeds, but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground. The seeds are small and black, while the pods differ in color and size by species.

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