Christmas is fast approaching and it just wouldn't be Christmas without shortbread cookies. Whipped shortbread cookies to be precise.
This recipe has been in the family for a billion years.
Don't believe me?
Check out the original handwritten recipe - on half of a ripped envelope - from who-only-knows what year.
I like the "1/2 sifted corn starch" ingredient....I have to ask every year: 1/2 what? 1/2 Tbsp? 1/2 cup? 1/2 a tub? (It's 1/2 cup, by the way)
Yup, only 4 ingredients to create a very traditional Christmas cookie that is really, really tasty.
And, it has to be butter - not margarine.
Margarine will make your cookies taste and look nasty. Trust me.
Our mom says that the more crumbly and melty it is the "shorter" it is. The goal is to have a cookie that melts on your tongue. (P.S. - These do!)
Sue doesn't like them. Surprised? I'm not. She's an anti-cookie freak.
She says that "it's like putting chalk in your mouth" because the cookies are so "short".
I know..I know..... she's weird.
I don't believe we are twins sometimes....
I don't believe we are even related at all sometimes...
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 lb (2 cups) butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
Maraschino cherries for decorating (or M&M candies)
Preheat oven to 300. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and icing sugar until creamy.
While beating on low, gradually blend in sifted corn starch.
Gradually add in flour a little at a time.
(FYI - If you add the flour too quickly your mixer will create a little flour cloud that will cover everything in your kitchen. So....add it very slowly.....)
Continue to whip ingredients until well combined.
Now - if you do NOT have a stand mixer and you have to do this with a hand mixer be prepared to be there for a while. We have almost burned out several hand mixers making this recipe. A hand mixer will definitely work BUT a stand mixer is a million times better.
Place spoonfuls of cookie dough about 2 Tbsps apart on prepared cookie sheet. If you want to make them a little more festive you can put an 1/8th of a Maraschino cherry in the center of them OR a red or green M&M, OR - what my mom used to do when we were kids - a little piece of a red or green jujube.
Bake at 300 for 35 - 45 minutes.
If you are impatient you can bake your cookies at 350 for 10 - 15 minutes - but they brown very quickly this way and you will need to keep a close eye on them.
They are done when edges and bottoms are just lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
*Note - if you use the M&M candies to decorate your cookie the chocolate does kind of overpower the mild taste of the cookie. I love chocolate so I don't mind. If you are looking for a more traditional decoration then stick with either the Maraschino cherries or jujubes.
What are some of your favorite Christmas baking traditions?