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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two Great Cookie Doughs: Hazelnut Shortbread and Spritz

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Here are two great do-ahead cookie doughs that are pretty darn handy to have at the ready during this crazy holiday season. Once you prepare them you can do your own "slice and bake" game and take fresh sweets to all your holiday parties!

Spritz Cookie Dough

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups A.P. flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of your electric mixer butter, cream together Crisco and sugar. Gradually add yolks and extracts. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and very gradually add to creamed mixture. This mixture is best used through a manual cookie gun or an electric cookie shooter (I bought mine for $6.00 on Ebay — what a smart shopper!) Great with a candied cherry in the middle or sprinkles. These bake at 350 on a lined cookie sheet for about 5 minutes or till the edges just turn brown

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookie Dough

8 ounces (1 Cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces( 2 1/4 cups ) A.P. flour
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted and ground in a food processor very fine

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine butter sugar and salt and mix on low with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes. Add flour and ground hazelnuts and don't forget to scrape down the dough stuck to the sides of the bowl. Mix just till dough holds together. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate till ready to bake. I like to form little half moon shapes and bake them at 350 for about 7-9 minutes depending on their size. Then when cool, I dip one end in chocolate.