Tag Archives: shortbread

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

Well people we made it to the week of Christmas!

Are you all ready to go? Are all of the presents bought up? The house clean for company, or if you are traveling, is the packing done? Have you finalized your goody menu? Am I totally giving you a panic attack?

Sheesh. I’m pretty sure I just gave myself one. Are your wine glasses clean? Maybe it’s time to dirty one up.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Now that we are starting to feel a bit more relaxed, let’s talk about those goodies. As if I haven’t already made enough fattening stuff over the past few weeks, I thought I would play around with some shortbread cookies for you.

These are pretty fun. A perfect holiday cookie. The molasses gives them such a rich, warm flavor. And then at the end you get the slightest kick of sweet apple cider. Very nice.

But really it is all about the brown butter.

See all those little brown specks in there? Heaven. When you brown butter, it becomes nutty. The nuttiness is what makes these cookies really special. Special enough for the big guy. I’m pretty sure these are the cookies that Santa will get on Christmas Eve.


Great. And now she is beckoning her father over for a taste as well.

Okay so maybe Santa won’t be eating this particular batch of cookies.


Well I guess I can’t cross cookie baking off of my to-do list just yet. Looks like it’s time for me to head back to the kitchen.

Where did my wine glass go?

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup butter

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pan cook butter over medium high heat until brown and bubbly. About 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl stir together flour and salt, and set aside.

Combine butter, molasses, apple cider, and vanilla in a mixer.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Roll out to a 1/4 inch thick disc, and cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 12 minutes.

When cooled, coat with Apple Cider Glaze (recipe below).

Apple Cider Glaze

1/2 cup plus 3 teaspoons apple cider, divided

1 cup powdered sugar

Boil 1/2 cup apple cider over medium high heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until it is reduced by half.

Let cool completely (it will continue to thicken into a syrup-like consistency) before stirring it into powdered sugar.

Add in 1 teaspoon of unreduced cider at a time until desired consistency.

Saturday Selections: Gooey Mixed Nut Pie Bars

Well, we have big big news here today. Apparently, Tom Rinaldi, dramatic and touching ESPN segment-maker extraordinaire, had a taste of this week’s Saturday Selction and was so blown away that he wanted to do a quick review on them. (which is so cool, because I don’t even know Tom Rinaldi, and as far as I know, he has never even so much as stepped a foot in my kitchen…wow…incredible)

But without further ado, here’s Tom Rinaldi with this delicious and inspirational football snack story.

In one seemingly innocent kitchen in North Central Alabama you may find a group of usually rowdy football fans standing around in complete and stunned silence.  Not from any awe-inspiring plays on the big screen, but from a delicious dessert made by a brilliant home cook and blogger mom.

Amy, from A Stool at the Counter has conjured up a wicked concoction of deliciousness that brings Tebow sized tears of joy to any and all who are lucky enough to have a bite.

These bars have not one but two sticks of butter in them. And enough sugar to fuel you for at least one quarter of a football game.

Some desserts are so decadent, you can only eat one small piece at one sitting.

The filling in between the soft shortbread crust and crunchy nuts is smooth, creamy, and oozes out after every amazing fork full.

So regardless of which team you choose to cheer for this Saturday, take a moment to make this dessert and unite. Not as football fans, but as fans of deliciousness.

Tom Rinaldi, ESPN.


Thank you so much, Tom. I am seriously flattered that you felt so strongly about these bars that you wanted to do this little write-up for me.

I don’t know if I really need to say anything else here. I mean, Tom did such a nice job.

These are pretty straight forward to make. So I will spare you from the step by step instruction photos….although I have them…soooo if you are seriously sad that I have left these out this time, I will bust ’em out…

I will tell you this though.

The word “gooey” in the title is no joke. These bars are seriously messy.

You are going to want to eat them on a plate, with a fork, and with a great big ol’ napkin handy.

But my gracious are they good.

Gooey Mixed Nut Pie Bars

For the crust:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In bowl of mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth.

Add in flour salt.

Mix until combined into pea sized pieces.

Turn into well greased 8×8 pan and press.

Bake for 10 minutes.

For filling:

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped roasted, salted mixed nuts (I used peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Turn oven down to 325.

Sprinkle nuts on top of crust and set aside.

Mix together butter, sugar, syrup, eggs, and vanilla.

Pour butter and egg mixture gently and evenly over nuts.

Sprinkle on chocolate chips.

Bake for 60 minutes. (center will still be slightly jiggly)

Let cool completely before serving.

P.S. I’m just gonna go on ahead and state the obvious here, that Tom Rinaldi did not in fact guest post for me today, nor do I know Tom Rinaldi, nor has he ever had these pie bars. Although, I will gladly serve them up in the event that he does for some reason come to my home.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I bet you guys thought you had me all figured out didn’t you? You thought I only cooked healthy stuff. Turns out, I’m full of surprises, huh?

I have to give the hubs credit for this idea. I am pretty sure we had just finished up a batch of plain shortbread cookies, when he said, “Ooooo you know what you should do? Make strawberry shortbread cookies.” I was so proud.

I have been in love with this shortbread cookie recipe for some time now. When the Little Dude was 18 months old, I decided she was old enough for us to start the Christmas tradition of making cookies for Santa together. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep her from eating the dough, so I was on the lookout for an egg free recipe. My beautiful sister told me about these, and now they are seriously the only shortbread recipe I use. It is perfect. I love the slightly smoky-sweet flavor that the maple syrup lends.

For this recipe, you will first want to wash up some fresh strawberries and chop them in to small pieces. Then place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid.

The Dude and I even went so far as to gently (she has a baby sister, she is getting pretty good at the whole gentle thing) blot. You really want to try to get as much of the liquid out as you possibly can. You are attempting to avoid a soggy cookie situation.

While the strawberries are draining, toss a stick of room temperature butter over into to the mixer.

Then pour in your maple syrup, vanilla, and orange zest (not pictured…ooopsy). Then beat until well blended. If you feel inclined to take a taste, do not forget who you are and what you are doing, and proceed to dip everything from your fridge and pantry in it…or you can, but remember that then it is no cookie for you. And you are gonna like the cookie. 🙂

Mix together the salt and flour, and dump that over onto the butter mixture. Then stir it together until it is just incorporated.

Behold! Shortbread dough!

Pour it out onto a VERY well floured surface. This dough is extremely soft and sticky, but don’t stress out OK? If you use enough flour it is going to be just fine. I actually kneaded the dough a couple of times to get it a little bit easier to work with. And again making double sure that you have a good bit of flour where all of the dough will touch, press it or roll it out into a disc.

Before you go any further, give the Little Dude what she has been waiting for. Hey, she deserves this. She was very gentle with the strawberries! (Please, excuse those fingernails. She was actually finger painting earlier and not digging in the dirt).

Then sprinkle on a generous handful of strawberries. Gently press them down into the dough.

Then fold over, flatten it out again, sprinkle more strawberries, press, and fold over again.

Now I would urge to take one last look at the flour situation and make sure that there are no spots that need a little bit more. Because if you roll the dough onto a place that wasn’t well floured, it will stick when you try to cut it out. And I would feel sorry for you if you were to accidentally say a cuss word in front of your 3 year old. Then, gently roll out the dough into about 1/4 inch thickness.

Now here comes the fun part. Grab your favorite cookie cutter and cut out some cookies! Place them onto a greased cookie sheet as you go.

I am apparently 83 and have a very strong “waste not want not” mentality, so I keep recycling the leftover dough. I simply press it back into a ball, roll it back out, and cut out more cookies. I can usually do this two or three more times.

Place the cookies into the oven at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Let them cool completely and serve them up with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, Adapted from Maple Shortbread Cookies by NSTARK, on Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash strawberries and chop them into small pieces. Place on a paper towel and blot well to absorb as much excess liquid as possible.

Blend together butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and orange zest.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour and salt.

Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture. Stir until just combined.

Turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead a few times until no longer sticky, and press into a disc.

Sprinkle on half of the strawberries. Fold the dough over, and gently flatten out into a disc. Repeat.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, cut into desired shapes, and place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Allow to cool completely and serve with whipped cream.