Fourth of July Matchstick Cookies

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays, tied with Christmas and Valentine's Day. My family has a couple tried and true traditions--my mom makes this amazing German potato salad with brown sugar and bacon, we grill, make homemade ice cream with homemade cherry pie, and finish the night by climbing on top of the roof where we watch fireworks explode over the city below. This will actually be my first Fourth of July in my hometown in a very long time--last year I was in NYC for the Fourth which was so fun, the year before I was in Savannah, GA with my mom and sister, before that I was in Los Angeles, and the year before that I was in Philadelphia!

I had seen matchstick cookies popping up on various instagram baking accounts around Valentine's Day--they were dipped in pink, red, and white colored chocolate and packaged with the message "you're my perfect match." Gag/swoon. I had been wanting to make them for forever and took a patriotic spin on them using my favorite shortbread recipe. If you can get through the super OCD part of hand cutting these little rectangles to be all the same size, the actual decorating part is a breeze. They go great with ice cream, coffee the morning after, and just as munchies to have out on your picnic table! 

Shortbread Cookies

  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • extra flour for rolling out cookies

For the white chocolate dipping part you will need a bag of white chocolate chips (I find that Nestle ones melt really well, the more expen$ive Ghirardelli one's were a let down), Crisco, and GEL food coloring. The gel food coloring is super important because white chocolate is so temperamental; melted white chocolate hates liquid, and it hates anything that is a different temperature, so water-based grocery store food coloring is it's worse nightmare. Plus there are so many great things you can do with gel food coloring! Worth the investment.  

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add salt, vanilla, beat lightly until incorporated. 
  3. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time so you don't spray it all over.
  4. Beat until you get a dough that sticks together well but isn't too wet or too dry. 
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. On a well-floured surface, roll out half of the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick.
  7. With a sharp knife cut strips of dough 1/4 inch wide. Your impulse will be to make them wider than they should be--keep them skinny! They will spread a bit in the oven.
  8. Cut stips into 3-inch pieces and place on baking sheet.
  9. Chill cookies in freezer for 10 minutes, then bake in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Freezing is super important because it makes it so the cookies stay rectangular and don't turn into blobs on the baking sheet! You want your butter to be super cold. 
  10. Repeat with remaining dough. 

For the white chocolate, divide chips into 3 bowls equally. Add a dollop of Crisco to each bowl. The Crisco makes it so the chocolate will harden on the cookie, and it makes it have a nice shine, too. Microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring each time. When almost completely melted, add a small amount of food coloring gel to the side of the bowl and microwave again for 10 seconds before stirring in. This warms up the food coloring so the chocolate won't seize when you stir it in. If chocolate does seize you have to throw it out, you can't recover it so don't skip this step! And don't feel bad if it doesn't work out and you have to start over--I ruined a batch by being too overzealous. It happens. 

Dip the tip of each cookie in the frosting, making sure all sides are covered. Place on parchment to harden. 

Happy baking! Xx