Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reduced Guilt Shortbread Cookies



Why is this a Foodgasm?

Just in time for the holidays...I know there are lots of you guys that have no idea what you are baking for the holidays, look no further! This is a simple recipe, albeit a little time consuming. But the results are beautiful and delicious!

I don't know about you, but then I was a kid my family always had those tins of Royal Dansk shortbread cookies. They were so simple yet so buttery and sweet and just melted in in your mouth! It is one of the clearest most vivid memories I have of a cookie. My favorite were the thin crispy ones in a wreath like shape and the rounded rectangular ones with the course sugar on top. The holidays tends to bring out this beautiful childhood memories, this one is so vivid and tied with food. So I have been obsessed with shortbread cookies nowadays!

I started making a standard shortbread recipe by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). There were no variables really. I don't think you know this about me, but I go completely balls to the wall. Like why walk when I can run. BUT I know I am not much of a baker and I am trying to change that. So my husband, more of the slow and steady type, always tells me when you try something you have never attempted before there should only be one variable. Like walk before you can run. So he has a good point. So that is why I went and made totally normal shortbread cookies and then tried to cut the fat after.

So I reduced the fat. I used 1/2 the amount of butter and replaced the other half with light butter. Knowing that light butter melts quicker, I decided to chill the dough longer. I am VERY happy with the result as they are actually softer than full fat shortbreads, but not cakey at all. In a side by side taste comparison, you can tell the difference. I will not lie to you- BUT you also have a softer cookie that is completely delicious and melts in your mouth.

This recipe is a CLASSSIC for the holidays feel free to have fun with them, dip them in chocolate, cover in colored sugar, add nuts, whatever really. They lend themselves well to almost anything!

PS- Enjoy the little gingerbread men and sweet unicorn shaped cookies!

What you need

1 1/2 sticks light butter, you can use cold since it is soft.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
fancy sugar to top with as desired.

Adapted from Ina Garten's Shortbread recipe

How to make it

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the 1 1/2 stick of butter and 1 1/2 stick light butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. 
2- Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. 
3- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. 
4- Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour (since the light butter is softer I added more time).

5- Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with any desired cookie cutter. When you have excess roll again to 1/2 inch and repeat as necessary.
6- Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown slightly. Keep any eye on them though, if cookies are less thick they will take less time to bake and also every oven's temperature varies as does rack position. I had mine in the middle of the oven.

  Nutritional Information

The change I made to the recipe saved you 40 calories and 3 grams of fat! YAY! While preserving what makes it such a pleasure to eat!