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Valentines Day Cookies

Valentines Day is coming up soon! Today I want to share an easy way to make delicious cookies that have a professional, from-the-bakery appearance. These are tasty shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate with sprinkles.  I’ve done a similar post before on chocolate dipped heart cookies, but I’m focusing on technique today to get the “look”.

Simplicity is the key to elegant, bakery style cookies!

Simplicity is the key to elegant, bakery style cookies!

Tips To Make Great Cookies

  • Pick a dough recipe that is easy to make and roll out, and TASTES GOOD! I don’t care how pretty they are, if they taste bad that’s all anyone will remember. (my recipe below)
  • Choose one good-size cookie cutter to use for the entire batch. A simple shape, with plenty of surface area. Use a cutter that’s about 3″ in size. Simplicity=elegance.
  • Instead of using frosting, use melted chocolate or candy melts to dip the cookies. It adds delicious flavor to the cookie and sprinkles stick like glue. If using candy melts (or white chocolate chips) you can add flavoring if you prefer something other than the plain white-chocolate flavor. The coating will harden and you can stack the cookies easily.
  • Keeping with the simplicity theme, choose only one thing to alter, either the color of the chocolate, or the sprinkles you use. Not both. In my design I used a classic Neapolitan combination of brown, pink and white chocolate dips and the same sugar sprinkles on all cookies. I could have done all chocolate dipped with two or three complementary sprinkle colors. Too much variation and it looks like the cookies my four-year-old decorated–which taste great, but are not pretty!

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Recipe for shortbread cookies:

Ingredients:

3/4 lb of butter (3 sticks) softened to room temperature

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add extracts and mix until combined.
  2. Add flour. Begin mixing on lowest speed. Mix on low speed until the mixture comes together into a dough. It may take a few minutes.
  3. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then roll out and cut into cookies.
  4. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes until cookies are done. I like the edges to be very lightly browned.
  5. Remove to cooling rack and decorate once completely cooled.
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Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Isn’t this cute? It looks like it came from a bakery and tastes just as good. The best part is that this is so easy to do. The cookies only require 4 ingredients – you probably have everything in your pantry to make these right now! Here’s how to make them (full recipe at bottom of post).

 

Make a batch of shortbread cookies. Roll out and cut into your favorite shape. Once cookies are cooled. Melt chocolate chips for dipping. (see instructions below)

Carefully dip cookies half way into chocolate.

Allow to cool on waxed paper to prevent sticking.

Add a few rainbow nonpareils for a more decorative touch. Assistance of a cute kid optional.

Shortbread Cookies

  • 3 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. With an electric stand mixer cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and mix well.
  4. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, mix again.
  5. Add flour and mix on lowest speed until it comes together into a dough. If it is dry and crumbly you didn’t mix it quite long enough.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface. Press/knead gently until it comes together into one piece of dough.
  7. Divide in half and roll out.
  8. Cut into desired shape with a 2-3″ cookie cutter.
  9. Bake on ungreased sheets for 20-25 minutes or until edges are just slightly browned. Do not overbake. If unsure, use a spatula to lift up a cookie and check the underside. If it’s browned they are done.
  10. Move to wire rack to cool completely.

Now these shortbread cookies are VERY tasty just by themselves.  But if you want to go for a fancier look, dipping them in chocolate does the job. The combination of shortbread and chocolate is wonderful.

Chocolate Dip

  • about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  1. Place chocolate chips in microwave proof measuring cup. I used a 1 cup Pyrex.
  2. Heat in the microwave in small increments, stirring after each.
  3. The chips will retain their shape somewhat, even after they are warm enough, so be sure to stir well.
  4. I did mine for 30 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds.
  5. The chocolate was a little thicker than I wanted so I added a teaspoon of Crisco to thin it out. Be careful not to add too much or it will alter the flavor of the chocolate.
  6. Dip cooled cookies half way into the chocolate.
  7. Scrape the edge and bottom of cookie on the container to catch the excess chocolate.
  8. Once the dip was too shallow I used a small offset spatula to smooth the chocolate onto the last few cookies.
  9. If desired embellish with candy sprinkles.
  10. Allow to cool on waxed paper.