Shortbread Sweeties

Happy Valentine's Day, loves!

We've had a snowy February so far, and yesterday was no exception. An accumulation  of more than a foot of snow in a few hours meant working from home instead of dealing with delayed and canceled trains into and out of NYC. (We didn't want to be stranded in Penn Station for the night. Ugh!)

Being snowed in with your sweetie the day before Valentine's Day is pretty awesome -- even if you both are working from home and spending more time on conference calls than snuggling by the fire. (Sigh.)

Since this is the season of love and flowers and sweets, I decided to practice my baking skills yet again, with some cute little shortbread sandwiches. (Yes, baking, again! What is wrong with me?)

I made the dough and let it chill for a couple hours while I answered some emails. On my "lunch break," I rolled out the dough and baked a couple dozen of these beauties. 
When they cooled, I spread one cookie with either Nutella or a tasty combo of almond pastry filling mixed with raspberry preserves, and topped with another cookie of similar size. 

Crumbly and buttery, and filled with gooey chocolate or a fruity filling, these bite-sized cookie sandwiches are the perfect treat to share with your favorite person. (Don't forget the bottle of bubbly!) Sweet!

Shortbread Sweeties
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
Filling ideas:
Nutella or melted chocolate
Seedless raspberry preserves
Almond pastry filling mixed with preserves 

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 2

To Do:
  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. 
  • In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt, then add to the butter/sugar mixture. 
  • Stir into a loose dough. 
  • Divide the dough in half, then wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for about two hours.
  • When dough is chilled but still malleable, remove one of the halves from the fridge. 
  • Flour a surface and your rolling pin, then roll out the dough until it is about a quarter of an inch thick. 
  • Cut dough into circles 1-2 inches in diameter (if using pastry rings, use the second or third smallest size).
  • Re-roll the dough and keep cutting circles until the half of dough is used up, baking the cookies in batches for about 10 minutes or so, until firm. (If they are brown on top, you're too late.)
  • When the cookies are done baking, remove them from the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes until set, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  • Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. (Take it out of the fridge when you have only 1-2 batches left of the first one.)
  • When all of the cookies are completely cooled, match them into pairs, according to size and shape.
  • Spread your favorite filling on one cookie then top it with its mate. Repeat until all of the cookies are matched. 
  • So easy, so pretty and so yum. Make some for your sweetie, too!