Christmas is on the way. The date never changes, it’s always the same, and yet, it seems to creep up on me every year. Like it’s a surprise or something.
Every year I say I’m going to be prepared. I’m going to get my shopping done early, because I’m always so envious of “those people.” You know, those people who have their shit together by November 1st.
Those people who never leave their pumpkins on the front step until it freezes to the concrete. Those people who shopped for this Christmas last January when everything was on sale. Those people who can transform their homes into a winter wonderland in the blink of an eye. Those people.
Those people who have all of their holiday parties planned out on their calendars, and have already decided which outfits they are going to wear. Those people whose lights along their rooftops are always straight, and if ever a bulb goes out, it doesn’t stay out for the next four years, it gets changed before you can say “Santa Claus.”. Those people who have already finished their Christmas baking and it is carefully nestled in their freezer. Those people.
I’m not one of those people. But these tender, melt-in-your-mouth whipped shortbread cookies are a start. And you have to start somewhere if you want to be one of “those people.”
These cookies graced our holiday table for as long as I can remember. They simply melt in your mouth and I dare you to eat just one!
2 cups butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 cup icing (powdered/confectioners) sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
red and green glace cherries or assorted dragées,
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine butter, icing sugar, and flour. Using the whisk attachment, mix on medium-high speed for several minutes until fully incorporated. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip the batter for 8 to 10 minutes until it is very, very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute.
*NOTE - It's difficult to explain the correct texture of the dough but check the dough at around the 8 minute mark. It should be the consistency of a really thick buttercream frosting. It should be soft, fluffy, and easy enough to put through the pastry bag and tip, but not too easy or the cookies will flatten too much when baking.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a #1M star tip, or a cookie press, pipe cookies (about 1-1/2" diameter) on a parchment lined baking sheet. When piping the cookies, do not press the tip down to make the cookies flat. The cookies should be about 1"high when piped. They will bake down and flatten slightly, but you want them to retain their flower shape and don't want them to flatten completely.
Cut the cherries in half and place half of the cherry in the center of a cookie so it resembles a flower. If you are using candy dragées, drop 3 to 5 in the center of each cookie.
Bake for 13 - 16 minutes, or until the bottom begins to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool completely. Pack carefully to freeze. Freezes well.