This Mothers' Day, I decided to say it with cookies.
More specifically, cookies that I made, not baked goods from the grocery store.
Although those are good too. They are usually much prettier colors and more adorned with sprinkles and toasted coconut and icing swirls than my baked goods are.
So my desserts lack accessories. They still have spunk and attitude.
And love. Lots and lots of love.
Here is the baked good of choice, shortbread cookies with raspberry filling and a sugary glaze.
Ok, I'll admit it (it's baking confession time...uh oh...), I found this recipe about a week before Mothers' (its it Mother's? One mother? Multiple mothers? I've been assuming plural) Day, and thought it would be a great, classy cookie choice.
Classy cookies? Oh yes, in my mind, these were the little black dress of cookies.
And then I began to think. I hate when I start thinking. That is when over-complication starts.
"Were these cookies boring?" my brain would ponder, "should I choose something more daring, possibly the fuschia tank-top of cookies? What is the fuschia tank-top of cookies? Am I thinking too much about this?"
YES, BRAIN. YES YOU ARE.
But this was for the moms. And I wanted it to be perfect.
So, in the end, I went for the class (also, the raspberry jelly had already been bought). Sorry tank-top, maybe I'll find and make you for another, feistier holiday.
Ok, on with the shortbread...
Butter and sugar. How proud would Paula Deen be?
I am a big fan of reading the comments that people post about recipes. A few of the comments on this recipe talked about making the indentations in the cookies BEFORE refrigeration, so that the cookies don't crack as much. I thought that this was pretty logical advice, and rolled the dough into balls and indented them pre-fridge.
I indented the cookies with the end of the handle of a wooden spoon. Does anyone else want very specific directions while baking? While indenting, I was constantly wondering "how deep do I indent?"
Well friends, I'd say about as deep as in this picture. Or as deep as you'd like. This truly is a personal preference step.
Nervously indenting to various depths.
I'm sure you have noticed that some of the cookies are a bit cracked. I'm really not sure how big of an issue this really is, but I tried to smooth out the cracks as best as possible.
I thought that this cookie may become a troublemaker if left alone.
Ah, that's better - straightening up and flying right.
(what does that expression even mean?)
The directions for the cookies said to fill them with jelly before baking, and then you can top them off afterwards. While doing the second filling, I wondered why I had to fill them twice. My incredibly scientific theory on this one is that the first round of jelly keeps the indentation from poofing up while cooking. The second makes them full, as the jelly settles a bit while cooking.
Yes, poofing. It's an incredibly scientific term.
Oh, and also about the filling process. I put the jelly in a plastic bag, closed it (important step), mooshed it around until it was smooth, and then snipped off the tip of the baggie for jelly-piping. It worked quite well. I recommend it.
(Are we all surprised that both "poofing" and "mooshed" are words flagged by spell-check?)
A word of warning. Ok, several words.
You may not want to stray away too far from these cookies while baking. I know it is me, but the smoke alarm went off twice while they were baking (unusual, even for my track history). My theory on this (again, highly thought-through) is that the jelly causes this, as when I pulled out the cookies, there was a bit of steam coming out of the center of the cookies.
Just a heads up.
Want to see what the cookies look like out of the oven?
On one of the trays, I had dropped a little bit of jelly while filling. Doesn't it look just like a Craisin, post-baking?
Okay, the cookies were really really really good on their own. But I wasn't stopping there. The recipe had glaze in it. So I was making the glaze.
A note about the glaze: the glaze needs more water than is listed in the recipe. I added small splashes of water until it became gooey and glazey (also, amazingly not a word). I'd say it took about two splashes of water. Just use small amounts and work up.
Although really, if you added too much water, I'm pretty sure things won't entirely fall apart if you add a bit more sugar to even things out.
Check out my kitchen confidence!!!!
Okay, okay. I was wrong to ever doubt these little amazing cookies. Boring, they most certainly are not (classy, oh yes they are). The shortbread is flaky and wonderful, the glaze, while also a nice decorative touch, does not make the cookies too sweet, and the jelly is a nice fruity treat in the center.
Make them. Make them and enjoy them and love them, because I and the moms (my aunt and my grandma) that I gave them to absolutely did.