Valentine Shortbread Cookies: Three Ways

4 cookies for rmom words

Whether you’re scouting for a sweet treat to gift your valentine or a fun baking activity to celebrate with your littles, these shortbread cookies are just the thing.

Made with only a handful of pantry staples that you probably already have on hand, I love the versatility of this rich buttery dough and the ease with which you can transform it into an offering of affection in practically no time.

Mix up a batch (or two!) of  basic shortbread and then consider what will tickle your fancy: rolled cookies, linzer cookies, or mini thumbprints. 

A few perfectly imperfect sugar treats from the heart are sure to capture the attention of your darling valentines.

 

Basic Shortbread Dough:

  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until it is well combined. Add the flour and salt, and mix on low speed until it begins to come together. Then dump it onto a floured surface and gather up all the crumbs into a ball.

*A quick tip on knowing when the cookies are done: Look for the dough to puff up, but not brown. I prefer a buttery and crumbly texture, so I pull them out when the cookie begins to golden up where it meets the pan. If you like a crunchier cookie leave them in for a minute or two longer than specified.  If you cut out cookie shapes of different sizes, baking time will vary so keep an eye on the little guys and pull them out when they look ready—be careful when transferring cookies straight from the rack, the shapes are easy to distort when they are hot.

 

Linzer HEarts (1)

Linzer Hearts, what you’ll need:

  • Basic Shortbread Dough, sub almond extract if you want to be proper (otherwise vanilla works just fine)
  • Linzer cookie cutter, or two differently sized cookie cutters (one large and one small heart shaped, I use these.)
  • Jam for filling (I used strawberry and blueberry but apricot and raspberry are other favorites)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 3/16 of an inch. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Dip the cookie cutters into flour to prevent sticking and cut out equal numbers of tops and bottoms, use the smaller cutters to cut out the centers of each of the top cookies to create a little window for the jam filling to peek through. Re-roll the scraps if you like, just return them to the fridge before cutting.
  • Transfer all the hearts to your prepared pan and refrigerate them for another 15 minutes before placing in the heated oven.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden where the cookie meets the pan, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Use a sifter or sieve to dust the cookies designated as tops with confectioners sugar, then spread a very thin layer of jam on each of the bottom cookies. Pair up your cookie tops and bottoms and return them back to the oven to cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

 

Thumbprints

Mini Thumbprint Cookies, what you’ll need:

  • Basic Shortbread Dough
  • Jam, any flavor you like
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

  • Flatten your dough ball into a disc, cover with plastic and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Break off small chunks of dough and roll them into uniformly sized ¾ inch balls.
  • Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, then use your thumb (or pointer finger for these little babies) to make a small well in the center of each one.
  • Scoop 1/8  teaspoon of jam into each well. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges begin to golden where the cookie meets the pan.
  • Straight from the oven, use a sifter to cover them with a very generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar, the heat will create  a nice little icing. Also generously dust a separate plate with confectioner’s sugar and, once the cookies are cool enough to touch, move them to the plate so the bottoms get covered too. Allow the cookies to cool completely before serving.

 Rolled Cookies

Rolled Cookies, what you’ll need:

  • Basic Shortbread Dough
  • Buttah Icing (recipe below)
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Non Pareils

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 3/16 of an inch. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Dip the cutters into flour to prevent sticking, cut out heart shapes and transfer them to your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges where the cookie meets the pan begin to golden up.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack after 10 minutes. Let cool completely before decorating.

Buttah Icing:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3.5 -4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste (if you like the look of flecked vanilla bean seeds)
  • Food coloring, if desired

Mix butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla with paddle attachment in electric mixer until well combined. The icing should hold its shape well but be easily spreadable. If you need to adjust the consistency add more confectioner’s sugar or a splash of milk. I like to finish it off with 30 seconds on high speed to whip a little air into it at the end.

Decorate until your heart is content, share with everyone you love, eat until your bellies are happy!