Vanilla Shortbread Cookies with How to Tint Tutorial

  • Serves: Makes 48 2-inch cookies
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Love Shortbread
You can't just add food coloring to a cookie recipe and expect it to bake with vivid colors, so I had to develop my own cookie dough that lends itself well to this application. Simply leave out the gel food color if you want to bake plain vanilla cookies. I have included a How to Tint the Cookie Dough Tutorial at the bottom of this recipe. This has soon become a very popular and reliable recipe and is used with many others on the CraftyBaking.com website.
COOKIE RECIPE HELP 

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Sarah's
Secrets

If at any point the dough softens too much to handle easily while cutting out shapes, transfer the cookie dough on the waxed paper to a baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until firm again. 

INGREDIENTS
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (14 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces - rechill if necessary
1 large egg yolk, cold
1 1/2 tablespoons light cream, cold; can use whole or 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Make the cookie dough:
1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour and sugar.

KELLY SAYS: I like to sift together my premeasured ingredients.

2. Cut the cold butter into tablespoon size pieces, directly into the flour mixture.

3. Using forks, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.

4. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk, cream, vanilla and salt with a fork until well blended and smooth.

5. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour / butter mixture, and lightly stir the two together with a large spoon.

6. Then, knead the two together until the dough is evenly incorporated.



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7. Divide the dough in half. Press each half into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

STORAGE
The cookie dough can remain refrigerated for 2 to 3 days, TOTAL, including the time it will be refrigerated after it will be cut-out into shapes in the next steps.
The dough can be frozen for a month or more. Thaw in the refrigerator.

Roll the cookie dough:
1. When dough is thoroughly chilled, remove one disk from the refrigerator. Divide it in half.
Place one half on a piece of waxed paper. Rewrap and return the other half to the refrigerator.
With the side of the rolling pin, lightly bang the disk into a rectangular shape.

2. Place a sheet of waxed paper on top. Roll it out to 3/16-inch thick; check the underside of the dough and smooth out any wrinkles that form.

3. Roll out the second half of the first dough disk the same way.

4. Repeat steps 1 - 3 with the second dough disk in the refrigerator.

5. Stack the rolled portions (paper still attached) on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer, or until chilled and firm, or freeze for about 15 minutes to speed chilling.

Preheat the oven, Cut-out the cookie dough, Bake and Cool:
1. Position and oven shelf to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Line baking sheets with ungreased parchment paper.
KELLY  SAYS: I like to line mine with Silpat, nonstick baking mats.

3. Working with one chilled dough sheet at a time and leaving the remaining chilled, gently peel away, then pat one sheet of wax paper back into place.
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4. Flip the dough over, then peel off and discard the second sheet.

5. Using a 2-INCH fluted square or round cutter or other desired shape, cut out the cookies.
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6. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to the baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/4 inches apart. Reroll any dough scraps. Continue cutting until all the dough is used.
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Bake:
1. Bake the cookies, one cookie sheet at a time, in the middle third of the oven for 9 to 13 minutes, or until just lightly browned on the edges.

2. Using a metal spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks. Let stand until completely cooled.

STORAGE
Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.

OPTIONAL: HOW TO TINT THE DOUGH TUTORIAL
The colors darken as the dough refrigerates before baking. 

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INGREDIENTS
Include:
up to 1/4 teaspoon gel food color of your choice; for lighter colors, use 2-3 drops

INSTRUCTIONS
Follow instructions for Make the cookie dough Step #s 1 - 3 above, then replace Step 4 with this step:
4. Add the food coloring to the cream in a small bowl.
NOTE: For this short demo, we used 2 to 3 drops gel food coloring to obtain a lighter color.

In another small bowl, beat together the egg yolk, cream / food coloring mixture, vanilla, and salt with a fork until well blended and smooth.

5. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour / butter mixture, and lightly stir the two together with a large spoon.

6. Then, knead the two together until the dough is evenly incorporated.

7. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

You will get this color when the cookies are baked:

For even darker colors, follow the recipe for Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies.

STORAGE
The cookie dough can remain refrigerated for 2 to 3 days, TOTAL, including the time it will be refrigerated after it will be cut-out into shapes in the next steps.
The dough can be frozen for a month or more. Thaw in the refrigerator.

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