Shortbread Hearts

I should get an A on my last assignment.  I think I've spent enough time, energy, and calories on it.  Actually it should be an A+.  That's what I give myself:)  This Thurs. morning at 11am I will transform myself into the Sugar Cookie expert on Studio 5.  I was given the assignment last week from our dear family friend Darin Adams on Studio 5.  What makes the best sugar cookie? was the question.  Do I use butter, Crisco, refrigerate or not, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt?  What makes the best cookie? So I did a very scientific poll.  On Instagram and Facebook.  But my favorite friends and family came through with flying colors.  And the consensus is......................
There isn't ONE best sugar cookie!  The only conclusion I came to is: Every person on the planet has a favorite recipe, texture, doneness, and preference to their sugar cookie.  There isn't a one size fits all Sugar Cookie:)  Not one person agreed on all aspects of a sugar cookie.  Most like soft thick cookies with a great tasting frosting, but there are still those that like a more sturdy cookie with a little crunch.  I am definately in that camp, but still there was NO consensus what so ever.

I have baked my little guts out this last few days.  6 very different recipes, and a lot of different cookies.  One thing I did notice is my kids like naked sugar cookies.  3 batches were gobbled up before being dressed with frosting, and they were just as happy as could be.  A few things I did discover though that are very important for any sugar cookie baker are:

1- Butter is best! There is a lot of discussion about using butter vs. Crisco.  Even Alton Brown weighed in on this.  I found that the cookie using Crisco or butter has the exact same texture, and crunch, but the flavor of the butter cookie was much tastier.  MUCH TASTIER. I was worried about replacing butter for the Crisco.  I worried that the moisture content in butter would make the cookie spread, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The dough with butter was softer, but baking yielded the same results as a Crisco cookie.

2- Refrigeration is personal preference.  The New York Times did an actual experiment with Chocolate Chip cookies and found that refrigeration yielded a tastier cookie.  36 hours of refrigeration actually, but I found that refrigeration didn't change anything for the sugar cookie.  Some cookies required refrigeration to make the dough easy to work with, but if the recipe didn't specifically require it, don't worry.

3- Sour Cream recipes yield a "Lofthouse" type fluffy soft cookie.  If that's the kind of Sugar Cookie you like then make sure you use a sour cream recipe.  They were a lot fluffier than a standard Sugar Cookie recipe, but a little bland on naked cookie flavor.  These cookies needed frosting:)

4- Don't ever, EVER criticize someones Sugar Cookie preference!! There is a deep, personal, passionate feeling when it comes to Sugar Cookies.  There is usually a story, a tradition, a memory, something truly sentimental to people's sugar cookies.  People like their cookies a certain way because it was how granny made them. It was their favorite Christmas treat from their Great Aunt. It is their family tradition dating back to 1948. Or they got the recipe from a dear friend from a life long ago.  You know what I'm talking about don't you.  

So today I'm sharing my favorite sugar cookie............today.  It's the mood I'm in, or maybe it's the fact that I created a cookie that is crisp around the edges and has a subtle hint of lemon.  It's pink too.  With cute little sprinkles and all. 

 If you don't make these Shortbread Hearts today, at least it will spark a desire to make YOUR favorite Sugar Cookie recipe today or tomorrow for your loved ones.  You know you will.   Happy Valentines!  I love your guts!! XOXOXOXO 

Cake Mix Sugar Cookie Recipe     My Cousin Lindi's Famous Sugar Cookies

Here is the actual segment from yesterday's Studio 5.

My Favorite Shortbread Hearts
Shortbread recipe was adapted from Ina Garten. 

Disclaimer:  This is a crisp, buttery cookie.  MY personal fave, but just so you know.......James hates it.  He likes soft under baked sugar cookies.  See what I told ya!

1 1/2 c. butter softened (no subs here folks!)
1 c. powdered sugar
3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. lemon extract
zest from 1 lemon

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix until combined.  Dough may seem dry, but just give it a few seconds.  It should come together.  Roll dough out to desired thickness.  I like about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into desired shaped and place on a ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350' oven for 12-18 minutes.  Depending on thickness of cookie and desired doneness. I like my cookies to barely have a hint of brown around the edges.  Take out of oven.  Let sit a few minutes and then remove them to wire rack or towel lined countertop.  Frost with your favorite frosting, or eat totally naked or dip in dark chocolate.  Enjoy!!


  1. I just watched your Studio 5 segment. Great job! You look amazing! Thanks for letting us know about it.


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