Almond-Orange Shortbread cookies it would be for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012! I agonized far less this year than last--I didn't give a hoot about impressing people, I just wanted to make a tasty-ass cookie that was full of flavor (and not toooo sweet). This recipe is ridiculously simple, ridiculously easy, and other than having to make a 2nd batch because it didn't make nearly the number of cookies the recipe originally stated, the final product was a total success!
Almond Orange Shortbread Cookies (from Martha Stewart)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- Grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- Spread the slivered almonds on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 325 for 6-8 minutes or until lightly toasted (golden brown). You'll know it's time when you can hear them popping lightly or start smell them. Remove from the hot baking sheet and let cool completely.
- Make the dough: In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour and orange zest; mix just until a dough forms. With a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands, gently mix in almonds.
- Freeze the dough: On a piece of waxed paper, form dough into a rectangular log, 12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap log in the paper, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 months. If freezing longer than 1 day, wrap log again, in plastic wrap.
- Bake the shortbread: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from freezer. (If dough has been in freezer a long time and is frozen solid, let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes so it slices without crumbling.)
- With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.
I packed my finished cookies up and mailed them off ($45 bucks to send three small boxes!!! The USPS is a total racket.) to three fantastic fellow food bloggers: Tricia of Saving Room for Dessert; Amy of Two True Foodies whose cookies didn't arrive in the greatest condition...I'm sorry Amy, maybe put the crumbles over top of some yogurt as a sub for granola?? Or over ice cream??; and Mike of Semi Sweet. Their blogs are all lovely and OH MY GOSH Mike makes some just incredible cookies, you really must take a gander.
Annnnnd because I'm a total lame-o and for some reason miffed completely on taking photos of the entire baking process (I'm gonna go ahead and blame the wine I was drinking, mmmmkay?), the only photo I have, above, I borrowed from the recipe page on Miss Martha's website...Mine looked mostly like that (they may have been a bit thicker and not quite as perfectly square. My "form dough into a rectangular log" skills are somewhat lacking it seems). So, here's a picture of my little Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree, that I DID take and is not borrowed!
(HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I am in love with this little tree and there's a really sweet story behind it, too.)
Anyway, these cookies are delightful. They're light and flaky and not heavy at all (like shortbread can sometimes be); I think using powdered sugar instead of granulated has something to do with it, personally. The initial texture of the dough was really velvety and smooth and it baked up just that way, too. And, as poor Amy can attest (wahhhhhh!), they are verrrry crumbly, just the way a shortbread cookie should be! Like I said, they're the SH--. So, you should totally make them for your holiday party, to share with friends at the office, or just for yourself, to sit with the tin of cookies on your lap with a good holiday flick and a mug of hot chocolate (or hot tea or hot whiskey). Try not to eat the whole tin.
Buon Appetito, Buon Natale!
To learn more about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, click HERE.