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~ My Six-Ingredient Last-Minute Eggnog Shortbread ~

IMG_9607There are two kinds of people.  Those who finished their holiday baking last week and those who haven't started.  If your holiday is under control in a Martha Stewart-esque sort of way, the force is with you and you need no help from me today.  If, however, you fall into the category of those who just got home from doing all of your gift shopping and find yourself panic stricken in the kitchen in need of a last-minute cookie recipe, preheat your oven to 325 degrees now.

IMG_9489 6a0120a8551282970b016766430a97970b~ Step 1. Cut parchment to fit the bottom of an 8" square or round cheesecake pan with a removable bottom.  A springform pan works too, or:

IMG_9583Just, cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of an 8" square baking dish so the parchment comes up the sides.

IMG_9492Place parchment in pan and spray it and the inside of the pan with no-stick cooking spray.

1  cup salted butter (2 sticks)

1/2  cup sugar

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

2  teaspoons eggnog flavoring

1  teaspoon butter rum flavor

2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

IMG_9498 IMG_9501 IMG_9505 IMG_9507~Step 2.  Starting on low speed of hand-held electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt and flavorings.  Increase mixer speed to high and and cream until mixture is light, fluffy and pale yellow, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl constantly with a large rubber spatula.  Remove the mixer and add the flour.  Using the spatula, fold in the flour until a shaggy, ragged looking dough comes together.  Transfer dough to prepared pan.

IMG_9510 IMG_9520~ Step 3. Using a small roller, work dough into bottom.

IMG_9524Using your fingertips, pat and press dough to be sure it's 1/2" thick throughout and into the four corners and sides.

IMG_9529 IMG_9526~ Step 4. Using a fork, prick the entire surface a little less than half-way through to the bottom. Place the pan of dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  

Note:  In a hurry?  Skip the refrigeration -- nothing bad will IMG_9532happen.  That said, refrigerated dough tends to bake up a bit more tender than non-refrigerated dough. Some experts like to refrigerate theirs a full 24 hours.

~ Step 5.  Remove from refrigerator and place cold pan of dough on center rack of 325 degree oven for 25 minutes, stopping give the pan a quarter turn every 5 minutes to insure even "browning".  Edges should be lightly browned and top just showing signs of browning.

IMG_9541~ Step 6.  Remove from oven, place on a heat resistant work surface, wait about 1 minute, then by pushing up on the bottom of the pan, remove the shortbread.

IMG_9547While the shortbread is hot, cut it into 16, 2" squares.  I use a ruler to measure and guide my knife for precise cuts.

Invert & place squares on a rack to cool completely:

IMG_9584Dust tops liberally with Confectioners' sugar & serve:

IMG_9595Simple, Straightforward, Stress-free Indulgence:

IMG_9602My Six-Ingredient Last-Minute Eggnog Shortbread:  Recipe yields 16, 2" squares of shortbread.

Special Equipment List: kitchen shears; parchment paper; 8" square or round cheesecake pan with removable bottom or springform pan; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; small pastry roller; fork

IMG_3472Cook's Note:  Bar cookies in general are a way to remove some of the stress from your holiday baking marathon.  You cannot go wrong with the quick-to-make crowd-pleasing chocolate-lovers confection ~ Hello Dolly!  The 5-6-7-Layer 'Magic' Cookie Bar ~. Just click into  Categories 7, 20, 26 to get my version of this famous retro recipe.  Happy Holidays!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)


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