Of course, I also find myself baking batches of heart cookies to offer a vegan and allergy-friendly option for the kids' dance program fundraiser. No, I don't need another item on my plate. But when these types of opportunities present themselves, I can't help myself. Handing the kids the five dollars to buy a bag of cookies (for a good cause, no less) is entirely worth all the mess, clean-up, and chaos that occurs as I try to keep the kids occupied while I bake, but I also love the challenge of showing people how delicious allergy-friendly treats can be!
I have to admit, I hadn't made this recipe in a while. If I'd had any hints or advice, I'd forgotten them by now. So start from scratch is literally what I did.
This recipe comes from my favorite allergy book, "The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies" by Marianne S. Barber. I must remember to write a book review about this book because I really find it a valuable resource. Among other things, it's got a great recipe section, with recipes that you will find yourself using over and over again. The three ingredient recipe that follows is Barber's Shortbread (Version 1).
Shortbread (NO Egg, Dairy, Nuts, Peanuts)
1 1/4 Cups flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar (I added 4)
1/2 Cup allowed Margarine, or Butter if you can (I used Earth Balance with pretty good results)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine flour and sugar, and cut in margarine until mixture resembles course crumbs.
3. Form into a ball and knead until smooth. It took quite a bit of kneading and elbow grease to get a smooth consistency. Even after that, the dough is more crumbly and stickier than other dough I'm used to.
4. Roll out carefully on a very lightly floured board and cut into shapes. Originally, I wanted to use some large cookie cutters I had, but because of the crumbly and soft texture of the dough, it was impossible to get a clean cut out. I ended up using a 2" heart cookie cutter with a 3/8" dough. The thinner dough wouldn't hold up. Also, keep your dough lightly floured as you roll it out, and the sticky bits off the rolling pin.
5. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined cookie pans.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.
Makes about a dozen 2" cookies.
Add 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger for a spicy shortbread
Add 1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon peel for fruity shortbread
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla or lemon extract
Add sprinkles before the cookies are baked. They'll harden and stick to the cookie without the need for icing.
Dip partially into melted chocolate coating.
Add food coloring to dough before rolling out.
Sprinkle confectioners' sugar.
Happy Valentines Day baking!