In 2008, in an episode called Impromptu Dinner, Ina made delicious shortbread cookies, half dipped in chocolate. That same year, we launched Cassandra’s Kitchen, and the shortbread cutter used in this recipe was one of the first items for sale in our shop. We knew fans were looking for it and have sold hundreds through the years.
Since opening our first store in Bluffton, SC, it has been great to get direct feedback from customers. This cookie cutter comes up a lot, and with Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to make the cookies and decorate them with sprinkles and eyeballs. They can be festive for any holiday by simply switching out the decorations or leaving them plain. Easy cookie decorating at its best!
Prepare the dough, chill, roll out, cut with the shortbread cutter, and place the cookies on a half sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes. After the cookies are cooled, dip in semi-sweet chocolate, and decorate! You can also make and freeze the dough ahead of time to have available for those impromptu dinners. If you freeze the dough or chill longer than 30 minutes, be sure to leave plenty of time for it to soften.
Ina Garten's Shortbread Cookies
3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon Nielsen Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased sheet pan and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
When the cookies are cool, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don't trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.
Copyright 2008, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved