Rose Shortbread Cookies

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So there is a coffee shop in Salt Lake City called The Rose Establishment that is one of my favorite places to grab a cup of coffee. They don't have WiFi so I never studied there much, but anytime I meet a friend for coffee and a bite to eat it is my go-to spot. They have amazing avocado toast (I know....so basic) and quiche but what I love most of all is their rose shortbread cookies. There is nothing crazy about them--the shortbread is crisp and melts in your mouth, the rose is subtle but there, and the icing is vibrant and shiny. Overall they are just a really great cookie and so I wanted to try and recreate them at home. 

Also, on the non-baking front, Noah and I officially submitted and certified our rank list yesterday for Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology! It was surreal and exciting and nerve-racking. Luckily, we agreed about most things and there were no tears or big fights when it came down to making the list, which I was really thankful for. We both had to make some small sacrifices but at the end of the day we both prioritized wanting to be close to each other. We find out if we matched on March 12, and we find out where we are going March 16!!!!!! (O_o) 

Vanilla Rose Shortbread

  • *Recipe makes 6-7 medium, 3-inch round cookies*
  • 90 g softened butter
  • 45g granulated sugar 
  • 125 g all-purpose flour 
  • 1 g salt 
  • 3 g clear vanilla extract 
  • 3 drops rose water (I had rose water lying around from a cupcake kit a friend got me years ago, but I found it for sale separately on Amazon here)

Vanilla Rose Icing 

  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 2 g meringue powder 
  • 30 g light corn syrup
  • 10 g water 
  • 3 g clear vanilla extract
  • 3 drops rose water 
  • gel food coloring in pink, red, and violet 
  • dried, edible rose petals (optional) 

Tools

  • 3-inch round cookie cutter
  • piping bag with 1/8th inch round tip (optional)
  • parchment paper 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream butter and granulated sugar together in mixing bowl. Add rose water, salt, and vanilla and mix for an additional 30 seconds. Add flour 1 spoonful at a time, mixing well before adding another spoonful. Repeat until all flour has been added. At this point your mixture may look crumbly and dry--that is ok. Shape it into a mound and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. 

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While dough is chilling, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and corn syrup. Whisk with fork or a small whisk. 

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Add clear vanilla extract and rose water and whisk well. At this point the icing will be slightly thick but still runny. When you run your fork through it it should make a brief line before dissipating and becoming smooth again (shown below). If yours doesn't look like this add powdered sugar or water until you get this consistency. 

Coloring this icing was particularly difficult--in fact, I messed up 3 times and had to re-do it each time! But I finally figured it out. The icing of these cookies at Rose Establishment is this beautiful fuschia/magenta color that I have a feeling is made using hibiscus powder. You can buy this online, but I didn't have any. I found that I could make my own by using the colors below: Rose (Wilton brand), Super Red (Americolor), and Violet (Americolor). Essentially, any pink, true red, and violet will work. Start with you pink. You want to use the most of this color, get it until it looks really Barbie pink. Then add a small amount of red--I'm talking the size of a pinhead. Mix that in. Then the violet, start with 1/2 a pinhead. The violet will take it to a more magenta/fuschia shade instead of coral. Also, I learned the hard way to stay away from any yellow or orange. Since this is a purple-blue-based pink you want to stay away from anything that is the opposite of blue/purple. Honestly if you have a background in design or art this will probably be easy for you but it took a couple tries for me! 

The pictures below show the final shade after the violet was added. 

Transfer to a piping bag with a round, 1/8th inch tip. If you don't have a piping bag you can use a ziplock with the tip cut off or just spoon it on with a regular spoon. 

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By this time your shortbread dough will be done chilling. Line cookie sheet with silplat or parchment. Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work space and sprinkle it with a small amount of flour. Place dough on it. Roll out dough until it is between 1/8th inch and 1/4th inch thick. Cut out rounds and transfer to baking sheet. Freeze on baking tray for 10 minutes before placing into preheated oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove cookies. They will be barely browned on the edges and they will have spread slightly on the pan. While cookies are still very hot, take your cookie cutter and cut fresh edges on each cookie. Then return to the hot oven for 3 additional minutes. This makes the cookies have a nice, perfect edge to them which I really like. 

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After 3 minutes remove from oven. Take spatula and lightly press down on the tops of each cookie. This flattens it and gives you a great surface for you to ice on. It's small but it makes a difference! 

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Allow cookies to cool on pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. 

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The dried rose petals really elevate this cookie to the next level IMO but it's definitely not a requirement by any means! You can make your own if you are lucky enough to have a rose garden...or you can buy them here which is what I did. I poured a tablespoon of the petals into a small bowl and picked out the leaves and the stems so there were only petals. I also crushed some of the larger petals up into smaller pieces.  

To decorate, take a cooled cookie and pipe a ring of icing around the edge, leaving about 1/4th inch of space. Loosley pipe in zig-zags into the middle, and move the tip of your piping bag around to fill in the gaps without squeezing more icing out. Top with 3-4 rose petal pieces. 

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I took a bite of one cookie right after icing it, so the icing hadn't set up properly yet, but even so I think the flavor was pretty close to the ones at Rose Establishment! The rose isn't too overwhelming and the cookie is buttery and not too sweet. It would be great with a cup of coffee or tea! 

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Thanks so much for reading! Xx 

Snowflake Shortbread Cut-out Cookies

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I've been on the hunt for the perfect cut-out cookie recipe for years. One that isn't sickly sweet, doesn't spread too much in the oven, is sturdy enough to frost, and rolls out nicely. Finally, I found one that fits all of my criteria. My momma is a middle school teacher and for years one of her students (and her subsequent siblings) would give her a box of homemade sugar cookies for Christmas. They were amazing--like fight all your siblings for the last one amazing. After years of eating these cookies my mom finally asked her student's mom for the recipe. I was surprised by the recipe because it only has a couple of ingredients and uses no granulated sugar, only powdered sugar, no eggs, no baking powder or baking soda. It's really more of a shortbread than your traditional sugar cookie which is great because it falls apart in your mouth and isn't too sweet. I always hate it when you eat a cookie and between the cookie and the frosting you feel sick after. I've tweaked it a bit to my liking and here's the final recipe:

Cut-Out Shortbread Cookies--adapted from Bon Appetit

3 sticks of butter at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

3 and 1/4th cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

3-4 teaspoons pure almond extract 

Cream butter at medium speed for 1 minute. Add extracts followed by sugar and salt and blend well, then slowly add flour and mix until the dough just comes together. Don't over mix or you'll have a "tough" cookie. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll cookies out until they are just slightly thinner than 1/4 inch. 

Bake at 325 degrees until the edges are barely browned. If you find your shortbread has bubbles in it take a flat spatula (the kind you'd flip a pancake with) and lightly press down on the hot cookie to flatten out any bubbles so you have a flat surface to frost. 

For the royal icing I used the same recipe as here but I made a lot more. My measurements were: 

1 bag powdered sugar

1/3 cup meringue powder

1 tablespoon corn syrup 

3 teaspoons almond extract (don't use vanilla or it will turn the icing an off-white color or use artificial vanilla which is clear.)

enough water until it's "flood" consistency  

To frost these guys it's easiest if you make two consistencies of icing: one flood icing and one outline icing. Make the flood icing first--add enough water until you can lift up a spoonful of icing and let it drip down to the bowl and it quickly loses it's "ribbon" shape. So it's not "soupy" but it is definitely runny. If you've ever wondered how Starbucks makes those perfectly frosted snowman cookies, flood icing is the key! 

Place a little more than 3/4 of your flood icing in a large piping bag. With the remaining icing slowly add powdered sugar until the icing is stiff--this is your outline icing. The icing should make stiff peaks when you lift it up from the bowl. 

To ice your cookies follow these steps:

From here you can do whatever you want decorating-wise. If you want to add sprinkles like I did apply them when the icing is still wet (it dries very quickly!). You can also let the icing dry then add more outline icing on top to make it more three-dimensional.  

My momma and I wrapped these up and gave them out as gifts to our neighbors. I tied up stacks of 6 cookies with baking twine (seriously, what doesn't this stuff look cute on?), put them in cellophane bags, and tied them up with a Rudolph tag I recreated based on a Pinterest photo. I bought craft paper tags and some red pompoms. I made a cardboard Rudolph head template out of some stiff paper that I traced onto the tags, and freehanded the eyes and antlers before affixing the nose with a dollop of hot glue. 

Here's what they look like all wrapped up! Merry Christmas Eve!!! Hope everyone's night is full of family and egg nog and cookies and fun. Xx