This fall I have wanted to make a spiced dough for cut out cookies and finally got around to trying it last week. It sounded so good in my head–and luckily they really were! That is not always the case–sometimes the creations of my mind are only good in my imagination:) Luckily this time that was not the case! I LOVE my Great Grandma’s shortbread recipe –it is simply wonderful! So of course I knew it would make the perfect base for this seasonal creation. I added some classic fall spices and topped them with a mouthwatering brown butter icing. Browning the butter creates a very unique and delicious flavor. They were so good! The perfect fall cookie and a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table! Trust me this would please all the non pie lovers out there!
Spiced Shortbread with Brown Butter Icing
submitted by Melanie~The Sisters Cafe
4 c. flour
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
2 c. butter
About 1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine flour, spices and powdered sugar together in the bowl of a food processor** fitted with a steel blade. Chop four cubes of butter into slices and drop into the bowl. Pulse processor until the butter is the size of peas. Add extract and pulse a few more times.
Dump flour/butter mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the kneading attachment, knead on speed 1 for a minute and then increase to speed 2. The flour mixture will take shape and turn into a thick dough. Mix until the dough is lumped together and cleaning the sides of the bowl, and appears smooth.
Chill for 20-30 minutes for easier handling, and then roll it out using a silicone baking mat and a lightly floured rolling pin. (A silicone baking mat prevents dough from sticking to the flat surface and eliminates the need to flour your surface. This is good because every time you flour your surface, you add flour to your dough and decrease its quality.)
Roll out to desired thickness (1/4 inch to 3/8 inch) and cut out cookie shapes using cookie cutters.
Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes. Duration will depend on how thick the cookie dough was rolled out. Check after a few minutes and be sure to remove from oven as soon as the edges have a hint of gold. (Only the edges should turn a pale gold. Do not wait for the tops to look golden or you will have overcooked cookies.) Frost with brown butter icing when cooled completely . This recipe makes 3 or 4 dozen cookies.
**if you don’t have a food processor, you can simply cut very cold cubes of butter into squares and toss with the flour and powdered sugar before you start your mixer. Mix with a stand mixer or by hand with a pastry cutter just until dough comes together nicely.**
Brown Butter Icing
1/2 cup butter (only butter–not margarine!)
4 cups powdered sugar
5-7 TBsp very hot water
1 tsp vanilla
Cook butter until it browns. Add sugar, vanilla and enough hot water to reach a nice spreading consistency. If desired you can pipe a thin line of the frosting around each cookie. Then slightly thin the rest of the icing and spoon some within the outline. Gently “fill in the line”. You can use a toothpick to guide the icing into small places. That is how I frosted the leaf shapes shown.
Also, I finished them off with a dusting of cinnamon sugar==yum!