The recipe I use is essentially the same as the one I usually use, with the simple ratio of 1:2:3 for sugar:butter:flour. The dough is still fairly easy to work with when chilled while retaining a strong butter flavour. I love the fact that these cookies are simple yet pretty and are not covered in icing sugar for decorations, something that is unavoidable for more detailed and intricately designed cookies.
Recipe for Snowflake shortbread cookies (makes 18-20 6cm round cookies)
35g icing sugar
70g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (use high grade, fresh butter for the best taste)
105g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
White gel food colouring (optional)
65g icing sugar
130g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
20g corn flour (you may replace with plain flour. I added this for a more melt-in-your-mouth texture. )
175g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Blue gel food colouring
1. Sift sugar, salt and flour(s) into a large bowl for each coloured dough. Add butter and start off by rubbing in with finger tips and then form a ball of dough by gently kneading.
2. Add vanilla extract and gel food colouring until desired shade of dough is achieved. Knead until just combined to prevent over-working the dough.
3. Place the dough between baking sheets and roll to thickness of 3-4mm for snowflake and 5-6mm for a circle that is slightly bigger than the snowflake. You may wish to divide the white dough into 2 or 3 portions such that the rest of the portions remain chilled as you work with one. Soft dough is harder to work with for complex shapes.
4. Refrigerate or freeze the dough for at least 30 minutes or up to a few days.
5. Use the round cutter to cut out circles and place the cut-outs on baking tray lined with baking sheet. Dip the snowflake cutter in some plain flour and knock off the excess flour. Cut out the snowflake using the cutter and eject the cut-out directly on the circle cut-out. You don't want to handle the snowflake dough directly as it is quite delicate. In the event that the dough becomes too soft to handle, freeze the dough or refrigerate it again. I find it helpful to place the dough on reusable freezer packs to keep the dough chilled for a longer time. If the dough is too crumbly and hard to handle, leave it out at room temperature for a couple of minutes before working on it. Use a toothpick to clean out any dough stuck in the crevices.
6. Chill the tray of dough in the fridge for 15-30 minutes until firm. Preheat the oven as the dough is being chilled. Bake at 160°C for 12-14 minutes or until base of cookie is browned but tops and upper part of the sides are not. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.
7. Store in airtight container or pack in sealed party bags like I did!
As these cookies contain salt, they can keep for up to a month and taste better after maturing for a while.
These simple cookies are good as door gifts for Frozen fans and are pretty and simple gifts for Christmas too!
I am submitting this to "My Treasured Recipes #4 - Ho Ho Ho It's Christmas (Dec 2014)" hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House.