Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Shortbread

Picture it: Rich, buttery shortbread, the edge dipped in smooth-as-silk milk chocolate, and lightly rolled in chopped pistachios.

To top off the cuteness of this dainty cookie, imagine this single-serving shortbread served in its own tiny teacup.

Was it Martha Stewart? Ina Garten? How about Paula Deen?

Nope. None of the above. Try my sweet mother-in-law.

Kathy is a sensational baker. She taught me the golden rule of baking: butter and margarine are most certainly not interchangeable. My life changed pretty drastically (for the better) after Kathy welcomed me into her bag of baking tricks.

Every year at Christmas she sends Adam and I home with a tin of her seasonal treats, and Adam knows to keep his hands off the chocolate-dipped shortbread. Simple, sweet, and oh-so-butterific, those little shortbread cookies are all mine.

Last month, Kathy put a creative twist on her holiday shortbread and converted them into favors for her soon-to-be niece's wedding shower. These sweet little tea cups sat at each place-setting, begging attendees to sink their teeth into the buttery goodness.

Make these cookies for your holiday cookie plates, and your neighbors and co-workers will certainly beg for more. They likely won't believe the cookie itself has only three ingredients. In lieu of pistachios, you can roll them in red and green sprinkles, toasted pecans, or whatever your heart desires.

Trust me: the old Girl Scout shortbread impostor "Trefoils" have nothing on Kathy's famous cookies.

Kathy's Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread
(from Miss Kathy herself)

Forget those long, complicated holiday cookie ingredient lists. These shortbread cookies are small on ingredients and big on taste. Hey--you can't go wrong with butter and sugar, right?

  • 1 cup butter, softened (NO substitutes!)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 - 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Milk chocolate chips
  • Optional: crushed pistachios, crushed pecans, sprinkles, and/or other toppings
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees and coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2) Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Gradually add in flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes.

3) Pat into a 1/3 inch rectangle, 11 x 18 inches. Cut into small rectangles of your desired size (for Kathy's Christmas version, she does 2" by 1" rectangles). Place about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet and prick each cookie with a fork. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until bottom begins to lightly brown. Cool for 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

4) For dipping: Gently melt milk chocolate in a double boiler (I used one 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips). Dip one half of each cookie in the milk chocolate and sprinkle with nuts or sprinkles (or nothing at all if you'd like!). Place on wax paper to cool completely.


  1. I wish I had brown sugar on hand! It's not interchangeable with regular sugar is it? I could go for a cookie right about now ;)

  2. These shortbreads look awesome! You're one lucky daughter-in-law! And we're some lucky readers that you shared this!

  3. wow, they look so lovely! I still haven't figured out what tasty treats I'll be handing out on Christmas, but these are definitely on my radar.

  4. Mmmm... those look amazing! I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and pistachio and any kind of shortbread is always a favorite. :) Although maybe not trefoils. Hahah! I laughed out loud when I read that last sentence! :)

  5. Wow, so simple but so delicious looking!!! I love how few ingredients this takes!

  6. How wonderful that you were able to use a family recipe. Aren't those the very best? I'm sure your mother-in-law is tickled that you use her go-to recipe. I loved the way you described this shortbread. You made me want to make some right now! Thank you so much for sharing. Have a beautiful Sunday!

  7. I make chocolate dipped shortbread every year during this time, but I never thought to dip them into nuts. Great idea to use pistachios. Yum. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter.

  8. shortbread is probably my favorite holiday treat! her's looks AMAZING

  9. I love using family recipes--they are always so much more special! Thanks for sharing this sounds fabulous! And I love how wrapping cookies/goodies in clear bags makes them look so gourmet. They are actually on my list of things to pick up from the store today :-)

  10. These shortbreads look fantastic! They are the perfect treat for a shower, or Christmas or any excuse I come up with to make some already :)

  11. this looks just lovely, thanks for sharing this.

  12. Baking with real butter is just essential, really. I love shortbreads and I LOVE it when they're dipped in other delicious things.

    How adorable is that tea cup idea? I'm addicted - so easy but so elegant!

  13. The favor looks SO adorable! I just want to rip that packaging apart and go to town, I can't believe it's only a handful of ingredients.

  14. wow how cute and delish does this sound. I am definitely going to have to save this.


  15. I LOVE shortbread and especially chocolate dipped shortbread! How cute are those cookies?! I'm going to be trying out the recipe, I can't get enough of shortbread during the holidays! :)

  16. that's such a great idea for an easy homemade christmas gift :)

  17. Oh wow ,these look so professional and would definitely be on my wish list!

  18. update: I went out and bought brown sugar =) I can't bake... but i'll sure try! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  19. Simple, elegant cookies! Beautiful presentation as well! :)

  20. Wow, there really isn't anything to these cookies! Butter, chocolate, pistachios and I'm in!