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Feeding the kids: Shortbread Sweethearts
In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a Valentine's Day sweet treat. I found the recipe on Spoonful.com, a new website from Disney that's filled with thousands of family-friendly crafts, games and recipes.
(makes 8 cookies)
¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoon raspberry jam, preferably seedless
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt until combined. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon, then bring dough together with your hands. If dough is too soft wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about a sixteenth-inch thick. Cut out 16 heart shapes using a 2½ inch cookie cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Put 8 dough hearts on one baking sheet. Cut heart centers from remaining 8 dough hearts, using a small heart-shaped cutter. Transfer dough hearts to a second baking sheet. Chill both baking sheets for 10 minutes in the freezer or 1 hour in the refrigerator.
3. Bake shortbread at 350 degrees until slightly golden around the edges -- this will take 10 minutes for the ones with the hearts cut out and 13 to 15 minutes for the solid ones. Cool on baking sheets for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Melt white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over, not in, a pan of warm water. Stir frequently and watch carefully as white chocolate can overheat very easily. Remove bowl from the pan when you can still see a few unmelted lumps of chocolate and stir mixture until smooth. Set aside for 10 to 20 minutes, to let the chocolate cool and thicken slightly. Meanwhile, dust cookies with cutout centers with confectioners' sugar.
5. When cool, spread a scant half tablespoon of white chocolate over each solid heart cookie, leaving a border around the edge (the chocolate will spread as you sandwich the cookies). Put a blob of jam, about a quarter teaspoon, in center of each. Sandwich the cookies with sugar-dusted tops (hold by the edges to avoid fingerprints in the icing sugar) and add a little extra jam in the cut out center, if needed. Refrigerate for 10 to 20 minutes, until the chocolate has set, then store in a cool place.
* Chilling dough in the freezer or fridge before cooking helps keep the shortbread in shape when it's cooked in the oven.
* Cookie dough can be cut out and frozen on baking sheets lined with parchment. Transfer to a resalable box once solid and bake direct from frozen, as described above. The baked and sandwiched cookies can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to one day.