Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature - Do not substitute with margarine
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate melting wafers - You can find these in the bulk bins at any grocery store, but if you don't have any on hand then chocolate chips also work fine.


In a medium bowl whisk together the flour with the salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated and the dough comes together. 

For these cookies I separated the dough into two batches - one I dyed with green food coloring for my shamrocks and the other I dyed with yellow food coloring for my pots o' gold. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill it for at least an hour. You can put the dough in the freezer to speed up the chilling process.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. 

I made shamrock and pot o' gold shaped cookies for St. Patrick's Day with this recipe but didn't have any cookie cutters in those shapes so I just traced out a pattern on a piece of parchment paper and cut it out of my dough using a butter knife. Time consuming? Yes! But it saves you from having to buy a bunch of cookie cutters you only use once a year.

Place cut cookies on the prepared baking sheets and put in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. For the shamrock cookies I covered the tops with some green sugar sprinkles before baking. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Dipping the shortbread cookies in chocolate is entirely optional, but it worked perfectly to create the "pot" for my pot o' gold cookies. All you have to do is microwave your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for about 60 seconds, or until the chocolate is melted. Be careful not to leave it in for too long otherwise you will burn the chocolate and it will taste horrible. It's always best to melt a little bit of chocolate at a time so you don't use way more than you need. 

Line a baking sheet or a wire rack with wax paper (not parchment), and then, taking one cookie at a time, dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate and place it on the wax paper. The wax on the paper allows you to easily peel off the cookies and makes for easy clean up because your baking sheets won't be covered with chocolate. Once all the cookies have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.

*Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

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