Well gang, I think I'm on a roll again, baking *almost* every weekend!
I had seen this recipe on Pinterest for Valentine's Day and thought it would be fun to try when I remembered that I actually had a cookie stamp that was waiting to be used. When you bake a lot, you end up with a lot of tools, some which sit neglected until you find the right recipe.
After pinning, I was cruising my favourite baking/food blogs and realized the pin came from Bake at 350. They were bright pink for Valentine's Day, so that was an easy ingredient to skip. I made a few alterations to the recipe - used regular salt, rather than Kosher and I doubled the amount of almond extract because I wanted a stronger taste. My friends and co-workers loved them! Sorry kids, I'll have to make them for you another time. ;)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsps almond extract
2-1/3 cups all purpose flour
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. As I've said before, and I'll say again - use parchment paper! These cookies are very delicate when cooling and it's not worth messing up all your work for the little bit that parchment paper costs.
In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, salt and butter together until fluffy. Beat in the almond extract. Scrape bowl to ensure all the sugar is incorporated into the butter. On a low speed, add the flour, mixing until combined. I always watch for the dough to pull cleanly away from the metal mixing bowl and stop at that point.
Roll dough into 2 inch balls. Before stamping cookies, prepare a plate with flour to dip the stamp into, once for each cookie. Even though my stamp is made of silicone, the dough will stick very badly without this step. You can use a pastry brush to wipe off the excess flour, but I found just tapping the stamp onto the plate worked perfectly well.
Press the cookie stamp evenly into the centre of each dough ball. There will be excess dough pressed out around the edge, which I trimmed off with a paring knife. Once I trimmed the excess off the cookies, it was reused to easily make more dough balls. The yield for this recipe was 15 cookies, which I didn't think was a lot, but given that they're 2-1/2 inches in size that made perfect sense. I actually made 16, since my last was a messy "test" cookie for me to taste. Since they are shortbreads they don't expand, so they easily fit onto the two baking sheets.
The recipe called for 12 minutes to bake, but my cookies felt very underdone (a light tap to the middle was my test), so I gave them a little longer and took them out to cool after 15 minutes of baking time.
One big cookie with everyone's coffee or tea made everyone very happy last week!