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I’ve made shortbread cookies with granulated sugar for years, but recently tried confectioners (powdered) sugar. What a difference it makes in the fine, smooth texture of the cookie, contrasted by the finely-ground almonds and salt. 

You can infuse shortbread with just about anything, so experiment to taste. Make the dough and refrigerate a day or two ahead and pop them into the oven just before guests arrive. 

We hosted a group of friends Saturday night to sip mulled cider and nibble on sweet fall treats fireside while we laughed and talked and watched the clouds pass over the crescent moon. It was a cool, albeit slightly sticky, October night in Michigan, but perfect plaid flannel sweater weather.  

I relished the opportunity to make these simple, yet delicious maple almond shortbread cookies. I love all things almond and keep all varieties on hand (whole, sliced, blanched, slivered, etc.) as well as almond extract and amaretto liqueur to boot. I also had a new bottle of fresh maple syrup, which I was dying to use. I used both sparingly to add just a hint; I didn’t want to overwhelm the salty, buttery flavor of the classic shortbread cookie.

I made shortbread cookies with granulated sugar for years, but recently tried confectioners (powdered) sugar. What a difference it makes in the fine, smooth texture of the cookie, contrasted by the coarser salt. 

You can infuse shortbread with just about anything, so experiment to taste.  Make the dough and refrigerate a day or two ahead and pop them into the oven just before guests arrive.

Maple Amaretto Shortbread Cookies

Yields 16 Fall-Shaped Pan-Pressed Cookies | Prep Time :15 |  Total Cook Time :35

INGREDIENTS 
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • finely ground almonds (if desired) OR 1 tsp almond flour
  • 2 tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 3-4 cups flour (mix in enough that dough is somewhat dry and forms large crumbles when mixing)
EQUIPMENT 
DIRECTIONS 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat butter until creamed.  
  3. Add confectioners sugar, then beat again until well-combined.
  4. Add vanilla, maple syrup, amaretto, then beat until blended.
  5. Add flour and salt and finely-ground nuts into a bowl, mix, then sift into the butter mixture until well-combined.
  6. Roll out dough onto counter lined with plastic wrap.
  7. Press shape of dough into flattened square, about an inch in height. You may need to cut the dough into two bricks.
  8. Chill thoroughly, anywhere from 2 hours to overnight. Chilling the dough allow the outsides brown to a golden crisp and the inside cook to a dry crumble rather than the dough “spreading” and cooking up chewy and bland. The cold outside dough cooks faster and creates a protective barrier for the inside as it heats up.
  9. Remove dough from fridge.
  10. Using a biscuit cutter, cut discs of any size and place on the cookie sheet. Or press into cookie pan.
  11. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (time depends on thickness of your cookie — shallow discs will be shorter and deeper cookie pans will take longer), or just until the edges begin to brown.
  12. Allow to cool completely before eating. 

Maple Amaretto Shortbread Cookies

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