Or should I just spend $19.95 for those OMG delicious (and pretty) shortbreads?
February 27, 2009 10:49 PM   Subscribe

I want to make these cookies for Boyfriend and mail them to him. Which shortbread recipe should I use, and how do I paint the clover on to them?

I shipped him a bunch of cookies for Halloween last year, and while he was very happy about them, some of the more elaborately shaped (and thinner) bats broke during the overnight coast-to-coast voyage despite many layers of bubble wrap and cardboard. So, this St. Patrick's Day, I won't be baking anything in the fragile shape of a clover, but instead I'll steal Dancing Deer's idea and just paint one on top of regular round cookies.

Problem: I've never really baked just regular round sugar cookies. Can you recommend a recipe? Also, regarding the white icing on the cookies: should I just use regular royal icing? And, of course, how do I draw the design on top of each cookie? Diluted green food dye and a clover-shaped stencil, perhaps (but would I do it while the icing was still soft or after it's hardened)? Thanks!

PS. I'll be seeing Boyfriend the weekend before March 17th and could just hand him the cookies if the hive mind deems them unfit to ship, but I delight in mailing him gifts when I'm not around.
posted by halogen to Food & Drink (5 answers total)
You could probably mail them, and I would go find real clovers for the top. Royal icing should be fine, and sugar cookies are pretty generic. It's the thought that counts, especially if you haven't made them before. :) For the top, you could also just get sprinkles or green sugar and make a stencil. Wait til dry if you go the food coloring route.
posted by rhizome at 2:41 AM on February 28, 2009

You could paint the clovers on the cookies. It's a simple combo of egg yolk & food coloring. This would look nice even if you decided to skip the icing & paint directly on the shortbread.
posted by belladonna at 6:08 AM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love shortbread and butter cookies. I've looked for the perfect recipe all my life and I finally found it. I'm so crazy about these cookies that I can't make them unless I plan to give them to some one else, otherwise I will end up eating them all! I was thinking about making some to ship to my mother and if you roll them up right you could probably make them fit in an empty Pringle's can. They are also very sturdy (especially if you slice them a little thicker) and --big bonus-- one of the few cookies that taste just as good 5 days later as they do fresh out of the oven.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:32 AM on February 28, 2009 [3 favorites]

They sell this stuff at Michael's (or I imagine any other hobby-type place; I've also seen it sometimes in the holiday section at Target). It's icing that comes in a container that looks just like Elmer's glue. You kind of warm it up in your hands and then draw with it. It might be easier than trying to do it with a brush/stencil and the whole eggwhite thing.

These cookies are in shamrock shapes, which I know you don't want to use (they will most likely break), but I like the decorations on them a lot. Might be kind of fun to mix it up a little.

Good luck!
posted by dancinglamb at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2009

Best answer: I heard the awesome Shirley Corriher interviewd on NPR a few weeks ago—she recommends adding additional water to any shortbread-ish cookie recipe if you want to have them survive the mail:
Among the cookie problems bakers face is that the cookies can emerge from the oven soft and intact, but when the cookies travel, they may turn into a box of crumbs.

To beat this problem, Corriher suggests adding a tablespoon of water to a cup of flour that's going to be used in the cookies. The two proteins in flour — glutenin and gliadin — grip water, Corriher tells NPR's Melissa Block, and make "springy stretchy, strong elastic sheets of gluten." The gluten will hold the cookies together, she says.
Also, my local cake store sells markers that will draw on royal icing; that will get you close to the "flat" look of the cookies you linked to if you're not feeling up to painting.
posted by bcwinters at 6:44 PM on February 28, 2009

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