Almond shortbread stars

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PREP TIME

50 min

Makes

127 stars, about 1-1/2 inches (3.5 cm) wide

* PLUS Refrigeration Time: 45 minutes, Standing Time: 15 minutes, Baking Time: 6 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp water , milk or amaretto
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • icing sugar

Instructions

  • In a medium-size bowl, using a fork, stir flour with ground almonds, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter with sugar until well mixed, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Beat in yolk, then water, almond extract and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until mixed. Scrape down side of bowl occasionally. Dough will be crumbly.
  • Using your hands, gather dough into a ball. Knead gently a couple of times in bowl. Overmixing or overkneading will toughen dough. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Form each into a ball, then flatten slightly into a disc. Securely wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until dough is slightly firm so it is easier to roll out, at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days. Or freeze dough up to 1 month.
  • When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes. This makes dough easier to roll. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Working with 1 disc at a time, roll between 2 sheets of plastic wrap until no thicker than 1/4 inch (0.5 cm). Cut out dough using a star shape about 1-1/2 inches (3.5 cm). Place on ungreased baking sheets. Gather any scraps into a ball then flatten into a wide disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll.
  • Bake in centre of preheated 350F (180C) oven, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookie edges are light golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cookies cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Meanwhile, set a cooling rack over a large piece of waxed paper. Remove cookies to cooling rack and dust generously with icing sugar. Repeat rolling and baking remaining dough. Cool cookies completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 1 month. You will probably need to redust with icing sugar.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 20,
  • Protein
  • 0.3 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 2 g,
  • Fat
  • 1.3 g,
  • Fibre
  • 0.1 g,
  • Sodium
  • 15 mg.

These buttery shortbreads taste best sandwiched with decadent chocolate ganache (see our variation below).

Raspberry sandwich

Just before serving, spread about 1/2 tsp (2 mL) seedless raspberry or strawberry jam over 1 cookie. Top with another cookie to make a sandwich.

Chocolate ganache sandwich

In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup (50 mL) whipping cream to a boil. Meanwhile, finely chop 3 oz (90 g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate and place in a medium-size bowl. Pour boiling cream overtop, then stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If still lumpy, place in microwave, uncovered, on high 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate up to 1 week. Before using, however, reheat in microwave or in a double boiler. Cool to room temperature before using. On the day you serve cookies, lightly spread the bottom side of half the stars with chocolate, then cover with remaining cookie tops. Sprinkle with more icing sugar, if needed.