Stress management: shortbread cookies

let’s face it – there are times in our lives that are more stressful than others. at the moment, i’m going through one of those busy phases. everyone has their own way to blow off steam and cope with the stress from work, school, or parenting. my coping mechanism is baking. it’s just so satisfying to knead dough, work with your hands, smear flour over your forehead while trying to keep that strain of hair from falling into your face. of course, there’s the reward in the end – cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cake. i have a slight hunch that some of my friends only enjoy my company because they get to eat pastries in return. ha! just kidding 🙂 and then there’s the smell. the heavenly smell of something baking in the oven. that’s the part i problably most enjoy about it. so, to cut a long story short, i thought i’d share some of the recipies from last week’s baking spree.

i decided to make two batches of shortbread cookies for four reasons:

  1. they’re quick and easy to make
  2. you don’t need a lot of ingredients
  3. i’m in the process of collecting data for my thesis and want to hand out treats to my participants as a thank you gift
  4. everyone loves cookies

you can’t fail with this recipe. you just can’t. plus, it’s super adaptable to your own likes if you think the basic recipe too boring. for the dough you’ll need:

500 g all purpose flour (to make it a little healthier use 250 g of all purpose flour and 250 g of whole wheat flour)
250 g raw cane sugar
2 tsp vanille sugar
250 g unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

mix everything in a bowl and knead until you have a homogene mixture that doesn’t stick the bowl. put the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for half an hour (it’s easier to work with cooled than with warm and runny dough). meanwhile, dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour. after 30 minutes rest, roll the dough to the preferred thickness (i don’t like super thin cookies, so mine are usually about 5 mm thick) and then go nuts with your cookie cutters (this is the most fun part). put your cut out cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200°c for 8 to 10 minutes.

now, when i was done mixing the ingredients together, i divided my ball of dough in two halves. one half was put in the freezer to rest. to the other half i added the zest of 1 lemon (you can add almost anything you like at this point). i cut out the lemon-y dough with a round cookie cutter and cut some of the circles in half before baking. after baking, i brushed lemon glaze on them (for the lemon glaze stir confectioner’s sugar into a little lemon juice. this time i used too much juice and had too little sugar. i’d say with 80 g of sugar and 1 tbsp of lemon juice you’d be good. you can also add a little bit of yellow food coloring if you like.)

a couple of days ago, i found some cookie stamp letter at a thrift shop, and i wanted to see how good of an impression they left on my shortbread cookies. so i cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and then stamped „gracias“ and „danke“ with a little extra heart onto them. they turned out great! unfortunately i only have this before picture, but you get the idea:

since i spent so much time in the kitchen baking yummy things, i’ll be sharing another recipe tomorrow (stress management!), so stay tuned. here’s a little preview: