by Esther Holden November 11, 2014
The fall season brings lots flavors that we start to crave. While many focus on pumpkin (which we love too) don't forget about apple and how you can add some spices to make a delicious fall dessert such as our Apple Spice Shortbread Cookies. They are great with a cup of tea or warm apple cider enjoyed on a cool fall afternoon in the company of friends. This recipe is perfect for fall and we hope you give it a try!
Over many years I have developed quite a few shortbread recipes as it is one of my favorite cookies to make and give as gifts. The base of this recipe was adapted from a family shortbread recipe that my mom made for special occasions while growing up. I didn't have one that captured the flavors of fall until now.
I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get the balance of flavors right on my first try. That is not always the case when baking something new but it's more than welcomed when it does work out just the way you wanted! This recipe incorporates cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, finely ground pecans and crispy apple chips which give it the lovely apple flavor and adds some extra sweetness to the shortbread.
I was hoping to incorporate a genuine apple flavor into the shortbread and figured that adding real sliced apples to the dough wouldn't work so well since they would give off too much moisture for this style of cookie. Shortbread cookies are a more dry and crumbly style cookie. In the grocery store I came across Seneca Apple Chips which are dried apple slices. They worked perfectly for this recipe and really gave a nice sweet apple flavor to the shortbread. I pulsed them as well as the pecans in a food processor until they turned into small crumbs so they could easily be incorporated into the dough as seen above.
Using some of our baking products I was able to create pretty shaped shortbread cookies. Our small freestanding fluted baking cups that we carry in brown and white worked perfect for baking the shortbread in. You could fill a box with them or slip a few in a clear cello bag and tie up with some bakers twine or ribbon for a gift. One shortbread in a bag would be a lovely favor for a fall wedding too! To help the shortbread cook evenly once the dough was pressed into the baking cups I poked some holes in them using the stick end of our rock candy sticks. You could use a thin skewer as well.
Place the filled baking cups on a baking pan and let chill in the fridge until the dough is cool to the touch. Once chilled they are ready to be popped into the oven and your house will be full of the sweet aroma of fall flavors shortly. With shortbread cookies you want the edges to get a little golden as it adds extra flavor and you want the centers to be fully cooked. To serve them you can carefully pop them out of the baking cups and set on a platter accompanied by cup of warm cider garnished with an apple slice and cinnamon stick or tea. The baking cups used make a larger thick shortbread cookie. If you don't want them as thick press the dough so it only fills half of the cups or you can press the dough in an 8x8 square baking pan.
APPLE SPICE SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPE - Makes 8 using our small freestanding baking cups
1 stick of cold unsalted butter
1 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 - 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger depending on your taste
1/2 cup pecans that you then finely chop in a food processor
1 overflowing cup of Seneca Apple Crisp Slices that you then finely chop in a food processor
Preheat oven to 350 but not until you have placed the shortbread cookies in the fridge to chill for a little bit (follow steps below).
Cream butter and confectioners sugar in a mixer. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and finely grated ginger then add to the butter and sugar mixture. After you measure out and then finely chop the pecans and apple chips add them to the dough and mix until all is combined.
You can either press the mixture in an 8x8 square baking pan and once baked cut into rounds or squares or you can use our brown freestanding baking cups to bake them as we show here. Eight of the baking cups are needed for this recipe. The cups were filled and the dough was pressed down to fill about 3/4 of the baking cups. Use the stick end of a rock candy stick to poke some holes in the top and part way down through the cookie. This will help the shortbread cook evenly.
After you have filled all of the baking cups place them on a flat baking sheet and put in the fridge to chill for 30-40 minutes. When the dough feels cold to the touch it is time to put them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven and how full you filled the baking cups. You will know when the shortbread is done as they will be a little golden at the edges and set in the center. Don't over bake as the bottom may get to overdone. Keep an eye on your oven every few minutes after they have baked for 20 minutes to make sure you can pull them out at the right time.
These can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
This post was written and photographed by Esther.
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