Clover Bites

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.

Fairy Bites

One of the best parts of being a godmother/aunt is getting to spoil the daylights out of the kids in your life. Such spoiling can be accomplished through regular provision of baked goods.

Now before you freak out and say that I shouldn’t be plying children with sweets and teaching them to make poor nutritional choices, please remember that these are really active kids with balanced diets, whose treats are monitored by their parents (and whose parents also benefit from such treats). These fun fairy bites, which are just shortbread cookies rolled in colorful nonpareils, made their way to Mo and Margo in Maryland last week along with two adorable little wolf pup toys I found in Niagara Falls. I adapted the recipe from one I found at The Cards We Drew, using princess cake and cookie flavor instead of vanilla extract. They were a big hit, right along with the wolf pups.


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons princess cake and cookie flavor
  • Multicolored nonpareil sprinkles


Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add princess cake and cookie flavor and beat well, then add flour about 1/2 cup at a time, beating to combine.

Chill dough until just easy to handle; the original recipe called for 1 hour of chill time, but I found that this made the dough much harder than necessary.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place sprinkles in a small bowl.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop portions of dough and roll into balls, then roll balls in sprinkles, coating completely.

Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake for 11-13 minutes, until edges are just golden brown. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Cream Cheese Shortbread

creamcheeseshortbreadMy mission to find that delicious, albeit nameless, bakery cookie from my childhood continues with today’s cream cheese shortbread. And while this recipe yields a delicious treat, it does not, unfortunately, produce that delicious nameless bakery cookie from my childhood.

Someday, when I finally find the right recipe, I think I’m going to call it the white whale. For now, though, experiments continue. Fortunately, the experiments are quite tasty.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, from another food blog called Mama Likes to Cook. The end result is a great twist on a classic shortbread, and the addition of the cream cheese yields a lighter texture than you’d expect.  Although I’ve left these plain, you could definitely dress them up with a chocolate drizzle, tint them for holidays, or turn them into sandwiches with some chocolate or vanilla filling.


  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment or foil.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well-combined, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy, for another 2-3 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl well, then add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Add flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until very well combined.

On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough and knead just slightly; you will have a very soft, flexible dough.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with desired cutters; I used a square cutter with fluted edges. Scraps are very easy to re-roll; just add a dash of flour to keep your dough stable.

Place on prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Raspberry Almond Shortbread






Shortbread is a great cookie, and this thumbprint version is very easy to make, despite its somewhat fancy appearance.  The dough is basic; you could probably use any flavor jam or preserves for the thumbprint, and the almond glaze is optional.



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
  • Almond glaze (see recipe below)


In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon almond extract and beat until combined.

Beat in flour.

Cover and chill dough for about one-half hour, until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place raspberry jam in a small bowl and stir it slightly to make it easier to spoon.

Shape dough into one-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about two inches apart.

Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

Spoon about one-half teaspoon of jam into each indentation, filling it completely.

Bake 10-14 minutes, until edges are light golden brown.

When completely cool, drizzle with almond glaze.

Almond Glaze


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract


In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon water, and almond extract.

Add enough of the remaining water to make a drizzly consistency.

Drizzle over cookies and allow glaze to harden before serving.