Barefoot Contessa publishes the only holiday cookie recipe you need

https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/shortbread-hearts-linzer-cookies

Ina Garten Just Shared the Only Cookie Recipe You’ll Need for the Holidays

by JUSTINA HUDDLESTON

DECEMBER 14, 2020 AT 2:41PM PM ESTSHARE

Baking holiday cookies this time of year is less of a tradition and more of a compulsion, if I’m being honest with myself. So far this year I’ve made pumpkin cookieschocolate chip cookieschocolate mint cookies, molasses cookies, and more, but what if there was an easier way to fill up the cookie tins I plan on gifting than literally making a bazillion different recipes that require me to constantly wash my mixer bowl?

Thanks to Ina Garten, there is! She just shared a shortbread cookie recipe on Instagram and on The Today Show that can actually be turned into five different kinds of cookies, all using one fail-proof Barefoot Contessa recipe. As she always says, “How easy is that?”

The base cookie recipe makes simple, buttery shortbread hearts (we like these fluted cookie cutters). It calls for five ingredients you probably already have on hand: butter, sugar, vanilla (we use Garten’s favorite vanilla), flour, and salt. Bake the cookies as-is, and you’ll have delicous shortbread cookies, perfect with tea or cocoa. However, you can expand on the recipe in several different ways to make more cookies.

You can make faux-Linzer cookies by turning the shortbread cookies into jam sandwiches. You can add chopped pecans to the dough to make homemade Pecan Sandies, you can dip the shortbread in chocolate to make them more luxe, or you can glaze your cookies with different flavored icings and top them with sprinkles to transform them.

You know those Danish butter cookie tins that are basically always filled with sewing supplies? Well, this is like the DIY-version of making one of those tins, except there are actual cookies involved! They all have the same butter cookie base, which ties them together, but your extra touches transforms the dough so you have a cookie medley on your hands that didn’t require you to wash your mixer bowl a hundred times in the process of filling up your cookie tins.

Yes, these shortbreads make amazing gifts. But if you decide to keep this transformative batch of cookies for yourself, we won’t tell!


Shortbread Hearts (Maks 24 Hearts)

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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 and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter. Place the hearts on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.

Allow to cool to room temperature.

Linzer Cookies (Makes 14 – 16 cookies)

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 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 and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With half of the rounds, cut a circle out of the middle with a 1-inch cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners’ sugar on the top.

Notes:

I find the edges of shortbread are ever so slightly sharper if you chill the cookies for ten minutes before you bake them.

Shortbread can be cut into shapes and refrigerated for a week and then baked the day you serve them.

Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved.

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