Kona Coffee Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

Shortbread is of Scottish origin but the cookie is very popular in Hawaii as fundraising items, souvenirs and local snacks. Some Scots settled in the islands in the 18th century and have left their culinary and cultural impact. In fact, Hawaii’s last princess, Ka’iulani, was half Scottish on her father’s side (her Anglo name is Princess Victoria Cleghorn).

Several companies in Hawaii produce shortbread in a variety of traditional and tropical flavors and shapes. Kauai Kookie (the factory is a mandatory stop when we visit the island) and Maui CookKwees make round, stacked discs. Honolulu Cookie Company has its signature miniature pineapple shapes. There are other companies that do drop/scoop/mound shapes as well. We tried to copy Big Island Candies and the Cookie Corner with their simple rectangular-shaped flavored cookies dipped diagonally in chocolate.

This Kona coffee shortbread recipe fits in with our Highlander and Islander (HI) Cookery blog (a Scot married a local girl) and is appropriate for observing National Shortbread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Panera Bread)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant Kona coffee (or regular coffee), ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 ounces chocolate, melted

Directions

Cream the butter with the sugars. Finely grind the coffee granules to a powder then add to the butter mixture. Mix in the salt.

Gradually add the flour. Mix until a sticky but smooth dough comes together. Refrigerate for half and hour. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness between sheets of waxed paper. Refrigerate again to firm up the dough. Slice into rectangles (around 2 ½ by 1 1 ½ inches).

Place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet about two inches apart to allow for a little spreading. Refrigerate or freeze the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl according to the package directions. Use a spatula to spread chocolate diagonally across the cookie, dipping the bottom and sides as necessary. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue dipping the rest of the cookies in chocolate. Refrigerate to firm up the chocolate. Serve at room temperature. When storing the cookies, place between sheets of small waxed paper to prevent the chocolate from sticking to other cookies.

Notes

  • We halved the recipe to share with another couple friend (also expatriates from Hawaii) when they visited us in Texas. The cookie dough is soft and needs to be kept cold when handling and rolling out. To minimize spreading, we freeze the cut cookies before placing them in the oven. Feel free to add finely chopped macadamia nuts in the recipe.
  • Learn more about Princess Ka’iulani from the Kaiulani Project website. 
  • Read highlights about the Scots in Hawaii from Coffee Times
  • Islander has attended the Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games to support Highlander’s clan. 
  • See a similar recipe for coffee and nut cookies on National Coffee Day on September 29. 
  • Search our blog for more shortbread recipes.

 

Brown Sugar Shortbread Stars

Brown Sugar Shortbread Stars

January 6: National Shortbread Day and Epiphany

“…for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” ~ Matthew 2:2

Guided only by a wondrous star, three kings (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) from the Orient (east) made an incredible journey leading westward to visit the King of Kings (Jesus Christ). This biblical account concludes the traditional celebration of the 12 days of Christmas on Epiphany.

To celebrate the Feast Day of the Three Kings, which coincides with National Shortbread Day, we were wise to cut simple star shapes from a brown sugar shortbread recipe. We also sprinkled the cookies with sparkling sugar crystals to give it texture and brilliance, like a star with royal beauty bright.

Bake brown sugar shortbread stars and enjoy both Epiphany and National Shortbread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living: Incredible Cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, dark
  • 2 cups flour
  • sparkling white sugar crystals (we used Wilton brand)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until well blended. Gradually add the flour. Mix well until a dough is formed.  Roll into a ball and flatten into a disc between sheets of waxed paper. Press down with a rolling pin and smooth out the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Stars

Remove from the refrigerator and peel away the top layer of waxed paper. Cut out star shapes on the flattened dough. Use a spatula to transfer the star cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a lightly greased foil). Space the cookies about an inch apart. Continue to re-roll and flatten the scraps of dough and cut more star cookies, refrigerating the dough if it becomes too soft. Sprinkle sugar crystals on top of the star cookies. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden.  Remove from the oven and leave to set for about five minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Stars

Notes

  • We halved the recipe above to feed a small group of friends.
  • We used mini star cutters for this recipe. Other shapes besides stars may be used to cut into the brown sugar cookie dough.
  • Search our blog for other shortbread recipes as well as Epiphany-themed recipes.

Pan de Polvo

Pan de Polvo

December 4: National Cookie Day

At the various cookie exchange parties that Islander attends around this time of the year in South Texas, one cookie that is almost always present is pan de polvo, a type of Mexican shortbread with a dusting of cinnamon-sugar. These sweet treats have a crumbly texture that make them so irresistibly tasty that it is impossible to eat just one!

For those who plan to bake a batch of pan de polvo for a cookie exchange, this recipe is ideal because the cinnamon-anise tea can be used at least three times; tripling the dough recipe yields beyond a dozen of a baker’s dozen! These cookies are easy to make for a crowd, whether for cookie exchanges, Christmas, Advent, weddings, special holidays and especially for National Cookie Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Eva Longoria in InStyle.com)

For the cinnamon-anise tea

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds
  • ¾ – 1 cup water

For the cookie dough

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, butter-flavored
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used Mexican vainilla)
  • ½ cup sugar

For the topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon

Directions

In a small saucepan, boil the cinnamon sticks and anise seeds in water for about five minutes. Remove from the stovetop and cool to room temperature. Strain over a sieve and refrigerate until ready to use the cinnamon-anise tea in the dough.

Pan de Polvo

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream the shortening with the vanilla extract and sugar.  Pour in ¼ cup chilled cinnamon-anise tea and mix well.

Pan de Polvo

Gradually add the flour mixture and blend until the dough sticks together. Form into a ball and refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes for easier handling. Pinch out 1-inch balls and roll until smooth. Place on a greased cookie sheet about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges.

Pan de Polvo

Meanwhile, make the topping. While the cookies are still warm and moist, immediately roll them in the cinnamon-sugar. Place the cookies in a shallow container and seal until ready to serve.

Pan de Polvo

Notes

  • There is enough cinnamon-anise tea to use in three batches of cookie dough. Each batch yields approximately 4-4 ½ dozen cookies (3×4.5=13.5 dozen or more than 160 pan de polvo). Double the amount for the cinnamon-sugar topping if making many cookies.
  • Related cookies are Mexican wedding cookies and crescent cookies.
  • Search our blog for other cookie recipes.

Chocolate Shortbread

Chocolate Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

Highlander has a wee bit o’ Irish heritage. Some geneaological records indicate that his ancestors moved back and forth from Scotland and Ireland throughout history. We further learned that they are referred to as Ulster Scots, and those who have emigrated to North America are called Scots-Irish.

Inspired by Highlander’s history and heritage, we infused Irish butter into a classic Scottish shortbread cookie recipe. And as chocoholics who we were in the mood for mix-ins, we added baking cocoa and dark chocolate drizzles. Chocolate shorbread is the ultimate Ulster-Scot tribute on National Shortbread Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Brown Bag)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature (we used Kerrygold brand unsalted Irish butter)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking cocoa (we used Nestle brand)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)

Directions

Lightly mist the ceramic shortbread pan with cooking spray. Wipe off the excess oil from the pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the cocoa, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Chocolate Shortbread

Gradually add the flour until a sticky dough is formed. Press the dough evenly (it is fine to use fingers) in the shortbread pan.

Chocolate Shortbread

Prick holes on the top with the tines of a fork.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes and slightly puffed, taking care not to burn the edges. Remove the cookie from the oven and let cool in the shortbread pan for 10 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a spatula or knife.

Chocolate Shortbread

Carefully invert the shortbread pan onto a cutting board. While the shortbread is still warm, cut into wedges with a sharp knife. Brush away the crumbs and let cool on a wire rack. Melt the chocolate squares. Fill a pastry or zipper top plastic bag with the melted chocolate. Using a small round tip on the pastry bag, or cutting a small hole from the edge of the zipper top plastic bag, squeeze out the melted chocolate in a back and forth drizzling motion over each shortbread wedge. Let the chocolate cool completely before stacking the cookies.

Chocolate Shortbread

Notes

  • Try drizzling different types of flavored chocolate (mint, orange, chili, etc.) for variety.

Lemon Shortbread

Lemon Shortbread

January 6: National Shorbread Day

Highlander’s Mum would bake shortbread in the traditional Scottish style—in a round pan and cut into wedges, just like the packaged petticoat tails and triangle shorbread cookies found at the grocery store. When we attended a Highland festival with her, she got a ceramic shortbread pan with a thistle design as an homage to her heritage. Years later, at another Celtic carnival, Islander got the same type of pan. Now she bakes shortbread for her Highlander hubby like his Mum used to make.

The classic shortbread recipe adapted for our blog post has a hint of lemon. Finely grated lemon rind adds a citrusy flavor and a fresh aroma to a versatile shortbread dough. Lemon shortbread is terrific for teatime or for commemorating National Shortbread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Brown Bag)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, finely grated
  • 1 cup flour

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with sugar. Mix in the lemon rind. Gradually add the flour until a smooth dough is formed.

Lemon Shortbread

Lightly mist the ceramic shortbread pan with cooking spray. Wipe off the excess oil from the designs. Press the dough evenly in the shortbread pan. Prick holes on the top with the tines of a fork.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden and slightly puffed.

Lemon Shortbread

Remove the cookie from the oven and let cool in the shortbread pan for 10 minutes.  Loosen the edges with a spatula or knife. Carefully invert the shortbread pan onto a cutting board. While the shortbread is still warm, cut into wedges with a sharp knife. Brush away the crumbs and let cool completely to a crisp.

Lemon Shortbread