Autumn Leaf Shortbread

leafshortbreadThis morning Tucker and I had a lovely walk at North Park, one of our favorite local places. North Park sits on more than 3,000 acres and includes a manmade lake for kayaking, paddling, and fishing, miles of hiking trails through beautiful woods, an ice rink, a swimming pool, various ballfields and tennis courts…pretty much everything you’d expect from a suburban park.

The trees at North Park are stunning at this time of year, and this year especially. Cooler weather has brought out vibrant reds and oranges, which are some of my favorite shades. These shortbread cookies, inspired by a recipe I found at Tastemade, are inspired by Mother Nature’s lovely fall showcase; while they look beautiful, they weren’t quite as flavorful as I would have liked. They have a lovely crumbly texture, but I think they need more vanilla extract – or even vanilla paste – to give them a richer flavor.


  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Yellow, orange, and red gel food coloring


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix to combine completely; this takes a few minutes. Divide dough into three portions and tint each portion a different color, then marble your dough together. If necessary, you can chill your dough, but I skipped this step because it was cool enough in my house today and the dough didn’t get that soft.

Roll your dough into a log, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookies using a leaf-shaped cutter; press lines for leaf veins into each cookie using a sharp knife. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bottoms are very light golden brown.

Remove from oven place on a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about a dozen, depending on the size of your cutter; I used a maple leaf shape that’s about 2 inches wide. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.


Pumpkin Spice Shortbread

I had to, you see. Less than 24 hours into fall, and I had to bake something pumpkin-themed. These pumpkin spice shortbread cookies, adapted from a recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine, sounded too delicious to pass up.

While the original recipe called for adding a candy pumpkin (the delicious cousins of candy corn) to each baked cookie, I chose to leave mine plain, with just the recommended coating of Demerara sugar for a lovely, crunchy texture. You could use turbinado sugar if you don’t have Demerara, but I highly recommend Demerara for its large crystals. You can find it in most grocery stores in the baking aisle. I also highly recommend eating candy pumpkins!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Demerara sugar, for rolling

*You can make your own pumpkin spice by combining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. This makes more than 1 1/2 teaspoons, so just save whatever you have left in a small jar. 


In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin spice, and salt; set aside

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat until completely combined.

Chill dough for about 15 – 20 minutes, allowing it to firm up slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Place Demerara sugar in a small bowl.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls, then dip each ball into Demerara sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 14-16 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 30 cookies.