After bringing you vanilla in the first round, the Three Wise Men are now bringing you a variety of chocolates with this recipe for Grandma’s Shortbread Cookies. I don’t know whose grandma this recipe was created by, but she was one clever lady. These are some of my favourite Christmas cookies, have been for years, and I will tell you why – they are super versatile. I made a lot of different versions of these shortbread cookies just by adding different ingredients. You can be really creative and that is the best part of preparing everything yourself. Do you want more chocolate? Add some cocoa. Do you want hazelnut or almond shortbread? Add some ground hazelnuts or almonds, I’ve made both and it is delicious. Marzipan works too, if you like it. Do you not like chocolate, then leave them plain, they are still delicious. I could imagine them being really delicious with some peanut butter and dipped in dark chocolate, but I have not tried that, yet. Although I can hardly imagine this combination not working. Whoever came up with that, I will draw my Christmas hat to.
There are another couple of reasons why I like these cookies best. Firstly, they aren’t as sweet as your traditional sugar cookie. Don’t get me wrong, they look super cute with the frosting and the sprinkles, but they are just too sweet for me. To each their own, right? These shortbread cookies are just the right amount of sweet and the right amount of chocolaty.
Secondly, you cannot screw them up. There is no easier cookie to bake, because the dough is not fussy at all. You just put it in the meatgrinder (which I’ve never used for meat) with the cookie attachment or put it in a piping bag with a star nozzle (though I hope you have very strong arms trying it this way). Once you’ve piped the dough on the cookie sheet, you don’t move them until they are done. I can’t tell you how many cookies I ruined whilst placing them on the cookie sheet. I’m very clumsy. Once they have baked and cooled down you either drizzle them with the chocolate of your choice or you just dip them in. Easy peasy. They always look good and they always taste delicious, without fail.
Third and lastly, they are super fast when using the “meatgrinder”. Can you usually finish three cookie sheets in ten minutes when cutting ever cookie with a cookie cutter individually? I don’t think so. You can also make the dough a few hours ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for a few hours. I lost the “meatgrinder” and left it in the fridge for hours until I found it again, no problem. Just let the dough come to room temperature on the counter for a few minutes and you’re good to go.
Grandma’s Shortbread Cookies (Grandma’s Shortbread pdf download)
Ingredients for the dough:
250 gr Butter
125 gr Sugar
500 gr Flour
1 Tsp Vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
1 Tsp Baking powder
A dash of salt
Optional add ins:
100 gr Marzipan
100 gr Ground almonds or hazelnuts
100 gr desiccated coconut
4 Tb cocoa
200 gr chocolate or chocolate coating of personal preferance (milk, dark or white chocolate)
Optional: some chopped hazelnuts
- Make sure the butter and eggs are at room temperature. The butter should be slightly soft.
- Knead all ingredients into a homogenous dough. Knead in the add ins now, or leave the dough plain.
- If you pipe out your with a piping bag, you can immediately preheat the oven to 175°C and pipe them with enough space between them onto a lined cookie sheet. Lines or circles, that is up to personal preference. If you work with the meat grinder, leave the dough to firm up in the fridge for one hour and then proceed shaping them.
- Bake them up to ten minutes on the middle rack until golden.
- Leave them to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to firm up, then transfer them onto a cooling rack.
- Once the cookies have completely cooled, temper some chocolate* or melt the chocolate coating according to the instructions.
- Dip the cookies in the chocolate or drizzle it over with a teaspoon or piping bag. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts over the dipped chocolate.
- Leave the chocolate to harden before storing the cookies.
- Chop the chocolate and put it into a microwaveable bowl.
- On medium heat microwave for twenty seconds, take it out and stir the chocolate.
- Put the chocolate back in the microwave for ten seconds, take it out and stir the chocolate.
- Repeat step three until the chocolate is melted smooth. I don’t have a thermometer and this method has always worked for me.
Should you not have a meat grinder or the body strength to pipe them, you can cut them out like regular cookies. Using a cookie stamp also works really well, as the imprint actually stays visible after baking. I tried it with some leftover dough, but the evidence has been destroyed when I left the kitchen for just a minute. Sorry.
Hopefully you will like this recipe and give a go go go (as in ho ho ho, too much?). It really is super easy and delicious. I also hope you will come back to part three of this year’s Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. Have a wonderful day.