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Holiday Shortbread Cookies with Frosting


For Sugar Cookies:

6.3 ounces (12 ½ tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (90g) granulated sugar

1/2 + 1/8 (2g) teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon (5.9g) vanilla paste or extract

1 3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons (270g) Cup4Cup flour

For Sugar Cookie Frosting:

1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons (13.7g) light corn syrup

Assorted food coloring

2 teaspoons (10g) milk or water

1/4 teaspoon (1.3g) almond extract


For Sugar Cookies:

  1. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and mix on medium low for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add vanilla paste and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to distribute evenly.
  2. Add the flour in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any flour that may have settled there.
  3. Mound the dough on the work surface and push it together in a 5 inch square block. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.
  4. Position racks in oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Unwrap dough and place it between 2 pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Roll the dough out to about ¼ in thick on a well floured surface to prevent sticking. Use decorative cutters to cut out the cookies and place on sheet pans, leaving space between them. NOTE: If dough is very stiff, squeeze in your hands to make it more pliable.
  6. Bake until pale golden brown, about 10-15 minutes, reversing the position of the sheet pan halfway through baking. Take note that the baking time will vary depending on the size of the shapes used. Set pans on cooling rack for 5-10 minutes and then transfer cookies to the rack and cool completely.

For Sugar Cookie Icing:

  1. Stir sugar and milk together until smooth.
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  3. Divide into separate bowls and add desired food colorings.