This was my second year celebrating Hanukkah with my boyfriend’s family. The occasion involved abundant food including Laura’s lovely latkes, a plethora of driedels and menorahs, and a mountain of blue and gold wrapping paper.
Other highlights from this year: a flashing yoyo that plays the ‘Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel’ song, uncle Mark’s reindeer antlers hung with stars of David, and singing the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song with the whole family. As a fitting end to our Hanukkah weekend, we saw a car on the highway with a huge menorah attached to the roof. As you can see, Hanukkah is big in New York!
My modest contribution to this year’s festivities was shortbread cookies that I made in Oxford and brought over in my hand luggage. Unfortunately, a number of them broke (the stars points snapped off) but I was able to bury them in the cookie platter and I don’t think anyone noticed.
Shortbread is one of my favorite treats. As a child, I ate a lot of Walkers Shortbread during the Christmas holidays (and all year long). My cookies are not quite as decadent, but are especially delicious with frosting. Thanks to Sarah for sharing the blue colored sugar that I used on some of the cookies.
Makes 60 cookies
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated or caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 drops blue food color
2 teaspoons of water
silver dragées, for garnish (optional)
colored sugar (optional)
1. Add salt to flour. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well.
3. Add half the flour and incorporate using the mixer. With a wooden spoon, incorporate the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft ball.
4. Divide the dough into four parts and wrap each separately in saran wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the dough is cool and firm.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
6. Remove one portion of dough, and on a floured surface roll to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. With a cookie cutter make star shapes and place directly onto an ungreased baking sheet. If using colored sugar, sprinkle it on the cookies before baking.
7. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Cool to room temperature.
8. To make frosting, mix confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon of water. Slowly add more water until you reach the consistency of honey. Add floor color, one drop at a time.
9. Use a knife to spread frosting on cookies. If using dragées, place them immediately and allow the frosting to set.
10. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to one week.