Once again, shortbread comes through as a versatile treat. One of the things I like most about my shortbread recipe, which is based on one from King Arthur Flour, is that it’s delicious on its own but also so easy to dress up. Add extract of nearly any flavor, toss in some citrus extract, tint your dough a fun color, add sprinkles, drizzle it with chocolate; no matter what you do, you really can’t go wrong.
These clover bites – flavored with almond, tinted green, and sprinkled with green sugar – are on their way to Maryland for my favorite little leprechauns as part of their (slightly belated) St. Patrick’s Day package. Shortbread ships very well because it’s fairy sturdy, but I strongly recommend padding your container with some waxed paper, or even bubble wrap, to prevent breakage.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 5 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) flour
- Green gel food coloring
- Green sugar sprinkles
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract. Add flour and beat to combine completely, then add enough food coloring to reach your desired shade of green. The dough will be ready when it pulls away from the sides of your mixing bowl, but you may need to knead it a bit with your hands to make sure the food coloring gets distributed evenly.
Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls, placing about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand and sprinkle with green sugar.
Bake for 25-27 minutes, until edges are set. Remove from oven and cool for about 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes about 16 cookies.