Monday, January 20, 2014

Let it Snow- Snowflake Shortbread Cookies

With all the concern in California about the drought, and it being the driest year in California's recorded history, I thought I would send out some "let it snow" ju-ju vibes with these gorgeous snowflake shortbread cookies my sister in law and I made over the holiday season.  Honestly, my husband and I wished to not have too much rain this winter because we are in the process of re-siding the house and indoor waterfalls are not a feature that I desire.  But drought conditions are definitely not what we had in mind.  So I hope that Mother Nature will grant us some late in the season snow for the Sierras and some much needed rain for us Foothillers. 

Ok- back to the cookies.  My sister-in-law, Sophia, does not bake much but wanted to make something to give to friends for a holiday treat.  When she asked for my help, I was so excited. We were able to carve out an afternoon where our schedules aligned during the busy holiday hustle and bustle. 

When planning we talked about a lot of different ideas including a the idea of a cookie plate.  Although cookie plates with the menagerie of sweets are wonderful to receive, it usually takes longer than an afternoon to make the many varieties of cookies needed for a proper plate.  So then we thought maybe a bold statement cookie might work where we could do something large enough so that there would be one per person. 
This made it easy to calculate just how many we would need.  My sister-in-law was inspired by these Chocolate Gingerbread Snowflakes found in the December 2013 issue of Sunset magazine.

Chocolate Gingerbread Snowflakes from Sunset Magazine
 Now these cookies are agreeably beautiful, and we loved the design. But we were not sure about the gingerbread part of the masterpiece.  Instead of gambling on the gingerbread, which to me is a love-it or hate-it confection, we decided to go with the classic shortbread as the cookie base.  Shortbread tends to keep its shape when baking and it is sturdy enough to hold the thick chocolate layer.  Also, it is not overly sweet like a sugar cookie.  When paired with the bittersweet and white chocolate glaze, it created the perfectly sophisticated cookie (that is so my sister in law). 
Here is the shortbread recipe we used. 

Classic Shortbread
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt 
 In the bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  I use a stand mixer with paddle attachment.  Add vanilla.  Next add the sifted flour and salt.  Mix in until it is all combined.  Do not over mix.  Shape into a large ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 min.  If you want to make the dough ahead and it is chilling longer than 30 min you might need to have it set on the counter for a couple minutes before rolling because it will be quite stiff.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a snowflake cutter.  We use this one by Wilton.
Snowflake Comfort Grip™ Cutter
Snowflake Comfort Grip cookie cutter

Place the cookies on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Do not let the cookies brown. Allow to cool.  Please note that I love baking on Silpats.  It is really nice because I never have to worry about the cookies sticking to the baking sheet, the baking is even across the sheet, and the clean up is so easy. 

When the cookies are cool, place them on trays and start the chocolate magic.  The technique is simple.  Outline in melted dark chocolate.   And as you can see, it does not have to be perfect.

Let set.  Flood with thinned dark chocolate (*thinned with corn syrup and butter) and then swirl on melted white chocolate to make your design.  Please see the Sunset Magazine tutorial video where Pastry chef Romina Rasmussen demonstrates how to decorate the delicious snowflakes.

 Also, if you want some tips on how to melt chocolate, here is a great video from Taste of Home.
The cookies turned out beautiful!!  The only thing I would change when we make these again would be to thin out the white chocolate too.  The white chocolate set up pretty quickly and stuck on the toothpick, even with both of us working together,  Thinning it would make it easier to swirl and the design would be cleaner.

Just like snowflakes, each cookie is a little different. 

Back to the drought. Luckily despite the weather conditions, my son still had his class ski trip this week.
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As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful day.
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Perfect conditions to get the ski bug.
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 This is all thanks to man made snow 🏂  

So I am sending out the request again, please Let It Snow!!!


  1. Stacey, these are so beautiful! I want to make them next year. Or maybe we should do something similar for Valentine's Day or Easter?

  2. Yes! Chrys, Valentine's Day would be so fun. Swirly hearts could be so pretty and a nice treat. Share your pictures please.