Baked Goods, Cookies, Holidays / Entertaining

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts

Well look what we have here. The obligatory heart-shaped baked good post for Valentine’s Day! Half of you are already clicking to the next blog entry in google reader and the other half are still with me. Thank you second half! There’s nothing wrong with loving pretty things, cookies, or cutting them into girlie girl shapes. As you’re probably aware I’ve made lots of heart-shaped things in the past and quite enjoy doing so whether it’s a goofy holiday or not.

This lovely little recipe was particularly pleasing though as I didn’t have to cover my one square foot of usable kitchen counter space with flour, fight off Dexter the cat’s constant curiosity, and then try to roll out dough. In fact, you don’t even have to turn on a mixer to make these addictive little sweets. Conjure up a medium sized bowl, a wooden spoon, and a square baking dish and you’re good to go.

My one suggestion would be that you definitely prep your baking dish, preferably with parchment paper. But if you’ve run out and keep forgetting to buy more, like me, aluminum foil liberally plied with cooking spray does the trick in a pinch.

Of course, this bake and then cut method does leave behind an interesting array of oddly shaped scraps. The’re quite ugly but you can give the pretty well-formed hearts away and keep the discards at home. Waste not, want not! Plus, I assure you that they’ll taste just as scrumptious in a small neat pile next to your afternoon cup of tea. If anyone gives you a weird look just say they’re something funky you found on Pinterest. No one will even bat an eye.

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts
Originally published by Martha Stewart in the cookbook Martha Stewart’s Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries, cherries, or mini-chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees.with a rack in center. Combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries.

Pat dough evenly into an 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Bake until just beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Place pan on cooling rack until cool enough to touch, about 20 minutes. Run knife around edges, remove shortbread, and transfer, right side up, to work surface. Use 1 1/2- to 2-inch heart cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Use a paring knife to trim stray bits of cranberry from edges. Cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.