Friday, December 19, 2014

12 Days of Christmas... Sorta...

Shortbread 12 Ways

You know how crazy this time of year is.  I know you do.  Because you are in the middle of buying gifts, decorating, running around between events, and trying to please everyone in every way to make this dang holiday jolly even if it kills you.  I know you are because I am and if you aren't then my whole "vive la Pinterest" thing is a bad life decision.  I don't have time to make bad life decisions.  I'm too busy.  In lieu of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies this year, I thought I'd try something a little different.  This year, it's one cookie 12 ways!  I have taken the humble shortbread, very simple and delicious on its own, and jazzed it up with lots of yummy, Christmas-time flavors!  Each portion will make 10-12 cookies, so when you're done, you'll end up with nearly 12 dozen cookies to share or hoard however you see fit.

Start with a basic shortbread recipe:
3 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
7 C flour
Cream butter and sugar thoroughly.  Add flour gradually, 1 C at a time.  Mix until well blended; do not over mix.  Then, separate into sandwich bags, putting a heaping 2/3 C of dough into each one. Add desired ingredients and press to combine. Roll into one-inch balls, or desired shape, and place on un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes.  Note that some have special baking or ingredient instructions.

Shortbread 12 Ways: Orange Spice Cookies 
1 tsp orange zest, 1/16 tsp ground cloves, dash ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 Cookie Recipe 12 Ways: Vanilla Mint Cookies 
Vanilla Mint: 1/8 tsp peppermint extract, 1/8 tsp vanilla beans or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Peanutbutter Chocolate Chip Shortbread One Recipe 12 Ways 
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip: 1/2 oz chocolate chips (I used chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate), 1 tsp peanut butter, 1/16 tsp salt

Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies: One Cookie Recipe 12 Ways 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/16 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp molasses

One cookie recipe 12 ways: Maple Pecan Cookies 
1 heaping Tbs pecans, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. When cookies come out of the oven, drizzle tops with maple syrup.

One cookie recipe 12 ways: lemon shortbread cookies 
1 tsp lemon zest

Mini Cheesecakes with a shortbread crust 
Makes 12 cups, Roll dough into balls, then press into a mini cupcake tin, using a spoon or your fingers to make the cup shape.  Bake 15 min, run knife around each cup immediately and pop out before they cool. Filling: 1/2 C cream cheese, 1 tsp sour cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 Tbs powdered sugar, 2 tsp lemon juice, place in a plastic bag, and cut the corner out, fill the cups with the mixture and serve, no additional baking required.

Figgy Pudding Jam Thumbprint Cookies: One Cookie 12 Ways 
1/4 tsp jam, Recipe found at The Kitchn

Oh Christmas Tree Shortbread Cookies: One cookie recipe 12 Ways 
1 tsp dried juniper berries, crushed, 1/16 smoked tea, crushed (Notes: These actually taste like a Christmas tree smells!  I love them.  Try them with a goodish hunk of mild goat cheese.  I used Wuyi Smoked Pine tea from Shen Zen Tea.  If you can't find something comparable in your area, you can omit it. I found the juniper berries in the bulk spices section at a local grocery store.)

Candy Bliss Cookies: One Recipe 12 Ways 
Roll into balls, then press 1/2 Seattle Chocolates HotButter Rum candies, or other favorite chocolate candy into the top

Christmas Cheer Shortbreads 
1 Tbs sprinkles, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Eggnog Shortbreads: One Christmas Cookie 12 Ways 
1 tsp vanilla, when cookies are done baking, sprinkle lightly with ground nutmeg

If you want to make a larger batch of one cookie, you can double the ingredients, but for larger batches than that, for the cookies where fluid is added, I would just add enough to make the cookie pliable, you don't want it to get too wet and gooey.

Wishing each and every one of you a very happy low-stress holiday season!


  1. Fine pictures, amazing recipes...discovered your place only now, but love to come back again and again

  2. Your photos are stunning! I am taking mental notes so I can improve skills. Fantastic idea with the cookie dough variations too, we travelled this year and therefore didn't make any cookies but next year I am coming back to your site for recipes. Still love those chocolate peppermint ones! Happy New Year my friend :)

  3. Very nice article.I hope you will publish again such type of post.
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