Saturday, December 5, 2015

white chocolate and raspberry dipped shortbread + FB cookie swap!

Happy December, everyone!

Nutcracker season is well on its way, with my first show having occurred just this afternoon. This means that I can officially declare that we are right in the thick of the holiday season. It also means that I have successfully survived tech week (a.k.a. I Can't Feel My Toes week), which, for those who don't know, means going straight to the theater from school and dancing until around 8 or 9 pm. Brutal, but so worth it in the end– the feeling you get standing in the wings with the Snow music just beginning, that perfect combination of nausea and adrenaline... it really isn't Christmas without Nutcracker.

OK, now about the cookies.

The shortbread base, adapted slightly from Joy of Baking, makes the best shortbread cookies I have ever had. Rather than the more traditional dense and sandy-textured shortbread, these turn out crispy, flaky and shatter-y.

As if they really need anything more, shatter-y shortbreads are then dipped halfway into melted white chocolate and sprinkled liberally with crushed freeze-dried raspberries.

The resulting flavors and textures complement one another quite wonderfully–Buttery, crunchy, creamy, sweet, tart.

They are quite festive, too, and I imagine they would make quite the holiday party cookie.

These guys were baked and shipped to three different food bloggers across the country for the 2015 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. For those who didn't see the end of my last post, the cookie swap is a secret santa-style exchange that occurs between participating food bloggers around the world. I received three delicious packages this week from Anna Dishes, Kudos Kitchen, and Food Ramblings, and am now up to my knees in cookie, a situation with which my waistline and I are very much at odds.

The ladies behind Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, who organize the swap each year, partner with a non-profit organization, Cookies for Kids Cancer, that funds research to develop safer and more effective treatments for children with cancer. The organization has its own shop that sells apparel, cookies and other gifts (including a cookie-of-the-month club!), just in case you are looking for some holiday gifts that help make a difference. I cannot wait to see how much the cookie swap raised this year! What an incredible experience.

Here's to a joyful and exciting (originally wrote "relaxing" but let's be real here...) holiday season filled with love, giving and cookies.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Dipped Shortbread
shortbread recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
yield: a ton. I got around 60 cookies– feel free to size down; shortbread is particularly easy since you won't end up with ridiculous fractions of egg.

for cookies:
5 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (5 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

for dipping:
about 2 cups white chocolate (chips or chopped)
1 cup freeze-dried raspberries, crushed into coarse crumbs

Combine flour and salt and mix well.

Cream the butter until soft and, well, creamy, about a minute. Beat in the sugar on low speed for 2 more minutes or until smooth and completely incorporated, and then beat in the extracts.

Pour in the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Or, you can just go in and mix it with a spoon and hands as I did, an extra precaution against over-mixing.

Divide the dough into 4 discs, wrap each with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 days. If you refrigerate longer than 30 minutes, you may have to set the dough out for awhile to let it soften enough to roll out.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out cookie dough to approximately 1/4 inch thick and cut out cookies in desired shapes. Take the scraps and repeat the process until you don't have enough dough for another cookie. I usually take this little end piece and add it to the next cookie disc.

If the cut cookies have gotten warm and soft by this point, I like to stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm them up so they keep their shape when baking.

Place cookies on baking sheet, prick with tines of a fork to prevent puffing and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on how you like your shortbread. I went for approximately 10 minutes because I wanted my cookies to remain nice and pale so that they were a little more attractive, but the ones I nearly burnt by accident were incredible in a totally different way, uber-crisp and nutty.

Let the cookies cool completely on a baking rack.

Pour the raspberries into a freezer bag, press out the air and seal, and press with hands or a rolling pin until they are roughly crushed, but still chunky. For those who are feeling the holiday stress, punching the bag repeatedly while making guttural noises is also an option. After crushing, dump berries into a bowl.

Microwave your white chocolate in a bowl for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly, and then continue to microwave for 30 second intervals (stirring in between) until chocolate is creamy and melted. If there are still some small chunks remaining, stir the chocolate gently until they melt– you don't want to overheat the chocolate and cause it to seize.

Set up a nonstick baking sheet (silicone worked great, and I'm thinking wax or parchment paper would as well) to hold the finished cookies.

Dip each cookie halfway into the white chocolate, shaking it firmly and/or scraping it off the sides of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate. When the chocolate reserves get low, use a spoon to push the chocolate up the sides of the cookies to keep getting the half-dipped effect.

After dipping the cookie and removing excess chocolate, place it gently on the baking sheet. Using a spoon, sprinkle the white chocolate portion with some of the crumbled raspberries. No need to go crazy, as the raspberries stick surprisingly well to the chocolate and a little goes a long way. Initially, I took the "glitter approach" in which I drowned each cookie in raspberry and then poured off the excess, but this resulted in entirely pink-dusted cookies, which were not as pretty as they sound.

After giving the cookies at least 20 minutes to set, simply peel them off the baking sheet, shake off any extra raspberry pieces and enjoy! They ship very well, so share the love with family and friends.

I am feeling a little bit crazy because my first college interview is in two days and suddenly it's become very, very painfully apparent to me that I am the most boring person alive. Wish me luck!



  1. Thank you so much for these cookies. They were beyond AMAZING!! Loved them so much I didn't want to share :)

    1. I'm so glad you liked them Zainab!! Have a great holiday season! :)

  2. I also loved these cookies, thanks so much for sending these to me! I loved the flavors and cannot wait to make a batch of my own! Unlike Zainab, I didn't share any of these babies haha!!!

    1. aww Renee, you are so welcome! I am very happy you guys enjoyed them :)