I couldn't bear to let springtime pass without trying these fun shortbread cookies that I saw on Pinterest a while back. And okay, I'll just go right ahead and admit it, it's not too difficult for me to conjure up an excuse to make shortbread, as I am the world's BIGGEST sucker for these simple, buttery, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
I actually tried two different shortbread recipes for my fun Pansy Shortbread Cookies. The first was a bit bland and didn't roll very well but the second, well, it was PERFECT! AND, just for you, I tested it; I took a bite and let it just rest on my tongue, didn't chew or swallow and guess what? They TRULY do melt in your mouth. How cool is that?
Are you wondering what pansies taste like? First of all, they are one of many edible flowers. And there flavor? Well let's just say that pansies have a flavor that resembles ............. are you ready? ............ NOTHING. Oh, I don't mean they taste like nothing I can describe. I mean they taste like nothing, no flavor added. Which is great, as far as I'm concerned, because shortbread is just so stinkin' good, I'd hate to ruin it with anything.
You'll want to roll your dough fairly thick for these cookies to stand up to the pansy application. The application itself is super simple; just take clean, dry pansies (that haven't been sprayed with pesticides) and brush them onto the baked cookies with a bit of egg white wash.Then it's back into the oven they go a five minutes finishing stint. The results are delightfully delicious, a sight to behold, perfect for any special occasion you've got coming up!
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pansy flowers your choice of colors
- egg beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water glaze
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Combine flour, corn starch and salt in a medium size bowl and set aside.
Beat butter until fairly smooth. Don't beat till super light and creamy, with shortbread you don't want to introduce too much air into the batter. Add sugar and beat again until well incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until all flour is incorporated.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat work area. Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and form into a ball. Fold plastic wrap over dough and flatten slightly into a disk. Refrigerate for about one hour.
Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut with round or fluted cutters, placing cookies on prepared pans as you cut them. Re-roll scraps of dough and cut out as many cookies as possible. Use flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to counter and rolling pin but try to keep it as minimal as possible. Using a lot of flour will make dough tough. If dough gets too soft as you're rolling, just return it briefly to the refrigerator then proceed with rolling.
Place pans in freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 20 minutes. Chilling the unbaked dough will keep your cookies from spreading out as they begin to bake.
Bake 325˚F for 14-18 minutes minutes (depending on size) or until cookies are beginning to turn light golden at the edges and on the bottom. Cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Leave oven on.
While cookies are baking, gently wash pansies in cool water and drain well. Place face down on a clean kitchen towel. Snip off stems as close to base of flower as possible. Just experiment with how close you can cut. You might have one or two fall apart but then you'll know how close to cut. Allow pansies to sit upside down for about 15 minutes, then flip over to finish drying completely.
To apply pansies to shortbread, place cookies on a clean, dry work surface. Brush top of one cookie with egg white wash. Place a prepared pansy on cookie. Brush pansy all over with egg wash. I like to hold pansy in place by gently pressing the center of the flower with one finger while I paint the egg wash on. Add more pansies, if desired, depending on size of flowers. Pansies will shrink a bit during baking so it's fine to cover most of the surface of the cookies. Sprinkle cookie with either regular sugar for a smooth finish or sanding sugar for a sugary finish. I used sanding sugar for the ones pictured but also tried regular sugar and they were quite lovely. Repeat with remaining cookies.
Return cookies to sheet pan when completed and bake for another 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.