Before the days of motherhood (when I was rich with uninterrupted time), decorating cakes and cookies was a pretty big hobby of mine. I liked the artistic aspect of it more-so than the baking part. I could easily sit at a table for hours on end and pipe royal icing designs on cookies or shape decorations out of fondant for cakes and never get bored of it. While those days are fewer and farther between lately, I now enjoy getting messy in the kitchen with my little helper, and adapted my approach to make it fun for both of us!
Baking cookies with my daughter is becoming a yearly tradition and our favourite to bake is shortbread. It’s easy, the dough is fun for her to shape, and she gets to add a bit (lot) of sprinkles on top. Plus, I challenge anyone to admit they don’t like shortbread. How could you not!?
I am not super knowledgable in the science-y reasons behind why ingredients work the way they do in baking, but I have discovered this – there is one special ingredient that is a MUST if you want that soft, tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookie…
After years of trying shortbread recipes that claimed to “melt in your mouth” and being disappointed each time, one day I noticed a recipe for shortbread on the side of a Fleischmann’s cornstarch box. Oh. Emm. Gee. This was the recipe I had been searching for, and it had been sitting right in front of my face all this time!
At the time I thought that it was a bit strange for a cookie recipe to have cornstarch in it, but I am so glad I gave it a go because it is THE ingredient that takes a shortbread cookie from just “ok” to “eye’s roll back and make people uncomfortable with the sounds you make while eating it” good. Yeah, that good.
I’ve posted the recipe below with instructions, but I haven’t changed it one bit from the original, which can be found on the website for Fleischmann’s Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 cup powdered (icing) sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Sift together corn starch, sugar and flour. With wooden spoon or mixer with paddle attachment, blend in butter until a soft, smooth dough forms.
- Shape into 1-inch balls. (If dough is too soft to handle, cover and chill for 30 to 60 minutes). Place 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets; flatten slightly with fork or bottom of glass (either dipped in flour to prevent sticking). OR, dough can be rolled to 1/4-inch thick and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
- Decorate with candied cherries, coloured sprinkles or nuts, if desired.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
- Makes about 20-24 cookies.
- Try not to eat them all at once because OMG these are so good 😉
Give it a go and tell me what you think! Happy Holiday Baking!