It’s Holiday Baking 2016, and I could not be more excited. I can’t wait for my time off so I can spend the days in my nice, warm kitchen baking up a storm for my friends, my family and myself. If you’re anything like me, the posts over the next few weeks are really going to interest you, because you’re going to keep getting original and seasonal recipes between now and Christmas. Hype!
First off I’m tackling traditional Christmas shortbread and giving it a little more flavor and pizzazz. These almond shortbread cookies are amazing; the soft and crumbly cookie pairs perfectly with the almond slices on top, and the almond extract–if you choose to include it–adds a nice sweetness. On top of that, they’re also extremely pretty. Who could say no to that?
These cookies are super festive (they look like little wreaths!) and would be perfect as a gift or a party snack over this winter break.
They’re also super easy to make. The longest step of the process is waiting for the dough to chill, and everything else goes really smoothly, even cutting the circles. I ended up using the opening of a mason jar to get the size I wanted, but you could use circle cutters, cookie cutters or even rims tops of glasses or small bowls. They don’t even have to be circular; I just think it looks nicer that way.
I hope you guys enjoy recipe number one of Holiday Baking 2016. If you tried these, leave a comment letting me how they turned out. Happy Holidays!
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup salted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 2 tablespoons whole milk (plus more for sticking almonds)
- ½ cup almond slices
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
In a mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar and butter together until it forms a light paste. Add in the flour ½ cup at a time and mix until the mixture takes on a crumbly texture.
Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together, and the almond extract if you’re using it. The dough should still be slightly crumbly and not at all wet.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325º F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough out to ¼ of an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter (or any of the aforementioned substitutes) cut out circles and set them on the baking sheet.
Brush each with milk, then arrange the almond slices in a wreath pattern. Sprinkle each cookie with sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.