Somebody at my work decided we should all bring green food for a potluck this month. I threatened to share my “salad in a jar” before I remembered my favorite shortbread cookies. Few ingredients and even less talent are needed. A miniature shamrock cookie cutter, green food coloring, shortbread cookie dough and a simple frosting. That’s it! The best part is… NO DECORATING REQUIRED.
If you haven’t tried these cookies in any of the various forms I’ve already blogged about (Pink Shortbread Cookies and Iced Shortbread Cookies for My Valentine), you may not realize how buttery they taste and how easy they are to make. Simply put the dough in a Ziplock bag, seal, roll the dough to a uniform thickness and chill. Open the bag on 3 sides and let your cookie cutter go wild. Because dough has been thoroughly chilled, the cut-out cookies are easy to pick up with your hands or peel off the plastic before transferring to a cookie sheet, ready to bake.
WARNING: These taste fantastic straight out of the freezer. I suggest you double wrap and hide if you have freezer moles at your house.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups flour, all-purpose
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- 2 + drops green food coloring
- Combine butter and sugar into a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
- Combine flour and baking powder separately. Add slowly to butter using low speed. Stop beating as soon as the flour mixture is incorporated. Over-beating will result in toughness.
- Form the dough into a slightly flattened ball, place in a zippered plastic bag and chill about 30 minutes. With bag cracked open slightly to allow air to escape, roll dough until evenly distributed throughout bag. Place back into refrigerator until firm--at least another 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Can be frozen at this point.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Remove cookie dough from fridge and carefully cut two sides of bag with kitchen shears or scissors leaving one side intact. Lay top layer of plastic back and use cookie cutter to make cookies. Because the dough is cold and firm, they should peel off the plastic easily. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Re-roll scraps after replacing plastic over top of new ball and refrigerate a few minutes until firm again. Repeat as needed until all dough is used.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown around the edges. Time will vary greatly depending on the size and shape of cookies. Check early and often. Cool 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack and wait till cold before icing.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and extract. If too thick, add more milk a few drops at a time. If too thin, add more powdered sugar or let sit for awhile. Tint with food coloring. Ice cookies and allow to rest until dry. I prefer to turn cookies upside down and dip into icing just enough to cover surface. Goes faster although a little messy till you get the hang of it. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 1 month in the freezer.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. Technique inspired by Dorie Greenspan.