Show how much you love them by baking Valentine’s Day cookies. Here’s a recipe from Tracy Anderson of Woodhouse Chocolate, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week and producer of magnificent Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes.
Of course, you don’t have to cut the cookies in heart shapes. You can make them any shape you like.
Shortbread has three simple ingredients—flour, sugar, and butter. In addition to using a quality brand of flour, the secret to great shortbread is in the butter.
Tracy prefers salted Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter (it’s imported from Ireland). We use Cabot unsalted butter (winner of the World Cheese Championships in the Unsalted Butter category) or Finlandia. Try using a different brand of butter each time you make the recipe to see which you prefer.
> The history of cookies.
This recipe bakes the cookies at a lower temperature for a longer time.
You can decorate the baked cookies and/or dip them in chocolate, as shown in photo #1. Or, you can add garnishes alone, or serve the cookies plain. They’ll be delicious in any form.
If you don’t want orange zest, substitute 1 teaspoon almond extract.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 250°F with the rack in the middle.
2. CREAM the butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, for about 1 minute. Add the orange zest, mix well, then add the flour. Mix until completely incorporated (about 2 minutes).
3. TURN the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball. Flatten it out slightly with your hands, then roll to 1/2-inch thick. This is much thicker than other cookies you may have made.
4. CUT out the hearts with a metal cookie cutter (or you can just cut them into squares with a knife). Put on a heavy-bottomed parchment- (or foil-) lined cookie sheet and bake for about 90 minutes, until just turning brown on the bottom.
5. TO GARNISH: Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes and top with your sprinkled garnish of choice. To embed a Kiss, allow 10 minutes and press the chocolate into the cookie top.
6. TO DIP the shortbread instead: Dip one side of the cookies in the melted chocolate; allow the excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.
Shortbread will stay fresh in an airtight container for about a week, or it can be frozen for several months.
- Check out the history of shortbread.