Location: My tiny kitchen
Some people believe that there is only one true love in life. I believe there is one special cookie for everyone. Your special cookie might be the first cookie you had, or the cookie that you always had when you were a kid. Ultimately, the special cookie is the cookie that you want to have when you had a bad morning, a bad day at work or even a bad date. You might also want to bite into this cookie when you missed a flight, a hard deadline or the season’s premier episode of Lost. It is the cookie that could save you from kicking yourself (or other people’s behinds) in heated moments. If you are still looking for your special cookie, check if you utter a “Mmmmm” sound next time you have a cookie. If you do, then that cookie might just be the one for you.
My special cookie is a shortbread cookie made from an easy recipe created by Anna Olson. I have tried other people’s shortbread recipe but Olson’s remains my favourite. The right proportion of butter, sugar and flour listed in her recipe makes this cookie tastes rich and yet not overly buttery. To turn this shortbread cookie into my special cookie, I make them in different shapes – hearts, duckies and gingerbread men.
This recipe makes 36 cookies if you are using a small ice cream scoop. Based on the experience of making many batches, I’ve made a few modifications to the recipe. The ingredients are the same as Olson’s but the steps are slightly different.
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, soften
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp icing sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 310F.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with icing sugar until butter is fluffy. First beat at low speed until the sugar and butter are combined, then turn to high speed and beat for 10 minutes. This step is important because fluffy butter makes fluffy cookies. Beat the butter until it is almost white in colour. In the end, beat in the vanilla extract at medium speed.
3. Using a spatula, fold in the flour, cornstarch and salt.
4. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the cookie dough onto an cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms are slightly brown. Let cool and enjoy.
Those are the steps to make the shortbread cookies. There are a few more steps involved to turn the cookies into hearts, gingerbread men or duckies. You will need cookie cutters (in shapes that you preferred), wax paper and a rolling pin.
1. On a very long piece of wax paper, put the dough on one side of the paper. Cover the dough by folding the paper in half. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4 of an inch thick. Place the dough covered with the wax paper on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer until it hardens, which takes about 20 minutes.
2. Once the dough has harden, let it warm up in room temperature for 5 minutes or until is is soft enough to cut through using a cookie cutter. Flour a cookie cutter and use it to cut the dough into individual cookies. If the dough becomes soft and start to stick to the cookie cutter, put the dough back in the freezer for 5 minutes. Flour the cookie cutter as often as needed.
3. Repeat step 2 for the remaining dough.
Once the cookies have been cut, they must be baked right away or must be stored in the freezer. Put the cookies on a cookie sheet and let them harden in the freezer. Once they are harden, stack them up in a container and keep them in the freezer until you are ready to bake them.
Besides cookies, I believe for everyone there is also a special chocolate bar, cupcake, ice cream sundae, fried chicken, mac & cheese… the list just never ends. But I feel that when someone had a bad day, the special cookie can always make that person feel, well, a little special.