Easy & Delicious Holiday Cookies (Part I)
The holiday season is rapidly approaching and, while this can be a frantic time, it’s a great opportunity to spend time with loved ones baking holiday cookies. This year we’d like to spend more time enjoying the company of our family and friends and less time in the kitchen preparing for these festivities.
With that in mind we are passing on this delicious shortbread recipe. You can make it ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick delicious treat anytime your guests arrive. This recipe is also perfect for cookie swaps or gifts. The best part….you can make one batch of these cookies and by adding variations to the dough you’ll have a lovely assortment of cookies.
Delicious Refrigerator Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Beat the butter in an electric mixer and add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth then slowly add in the flour until a dough forms. Divide the dough into separate bowls and add any variety of ingredients (see the list below for some ideas). Place each dough ball onto waxed paper and roll into a log roughly 1 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Note: If storing for more than a week before baking, place these wrapped logs into a plastic freezer bag and freeze.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the refrigerator and let rest for 5 minutes. If the dough is frozen, allow enough time for the dough to thaw. Unwrap the dough and slice into 1/4″ rounds. Place on parchment paper and bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
I had fun making these cookies with a variety of teas, herbs and extracts. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add 1/2 tsp almond extract to 1/2 of the dough. Mix then roll and chill. Once baked and cooled you can eat as is or dip them in chocolate. I also made a batch with the almond extract and added mini chocolate chips.
- Add 1/2 tsp of Boyajian Orange Oil to 1/2 of the dough and mini chocolate chips. Mix then roll and chill. You can also dip these cookies in melted chocolate and omit the mini chips.
- Add 1/2 tsp of Boyajian Lemon Oil to 1/2 of the dough. Mix then roll and chill. After baking sprinkle the cookies with a mixture of sugar & ground lavender flowers. You can also roll the log in the lavender sugar before wrapping and chilling.
- Grind up spices or Chai tea and mix with sugar. Keep on hand for a spicy treat. Heavily sprinkle on baked (but not cooled) cookies. As with the lavender sugar (above), you can also roll the dough in the Chai sugar before chilling.
- As mentioned in variation 3 and 4 (above) you can create many aromatic sugars to use as a topping. Simply grind up your favorite tea or herbs and mix with sugar. Place in a sealed container and let the aroma infuse into the sugar (usually 1-2 weeks). Try with ground Chai tea, Earl Grey tea, lavender flowers, rose petals, Victorian Earl Grey, there are countless teas & herbal combinations to try.
- You can, of course, melt the butter with any tea or herb of your choosing, then strain the tea from the butter and use this tea flavored butter in your cookie recipes. For an example, see this scrumptious cookie recipe using our Candy Cane Rooibos Tisane.
- When the dough has been rolled into a log, sprinkle crushed candy canes or chopped chocolate candy pieces onto the waxed paper. Roll the log into the candy, pressing firmly so the candy adheres to the dough. Wrap and refrigerate.
There’s no limit to the variations you can try with all your holiday baking this year. And with these easy refrigerator cookies the holidays can now be a delicious, stress-free time of the year!
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