Baking on Friday (Saturday Edition): I Love You to Pieces Shortbread

Have you noticed the absence of Baking on Friday?  It's all your fault, really.  (I just love blaming others for my own shortcomings, don't you?  Responsibility is highly overrated.)  Some of you were writing comments about the size your bodies might be if you baked as often as I did.  After reading that, I smacked myself on the forehead and exclaimed, "So THAT'S why my jeans are so tight!"  Since having that sad epiphany, Baking on Friday has been on hiatus.  It's only returning briefly because I couldn't resist showing you this little Valentine's Day baking project.

This idea isn't original to me.  I found it in Sunset magazine back when Sunset was published on stone tablets.  It was well before the internet made its debut.  I looked for the project online, but I couldn't find it.  You know you're old when you remember time before the internet . . . and before cell phones!  In fact, I even remember when television was new, but just barely.

So would you like to make a huge shortbread cookie puzzle for your sweety?  Here's how it's done:

I Love You to Pieces Shortbread
(adapted from Sunset magazine)

2 cups  all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup butter (2 sticks) -- at room temperature
1/2 cup  (app.) chocolate chips, candy-coated chocolates, red hots, or raisins  (I used mini-chocolate chips)
Red glazing sugar -- optional

Preheat oven to 275°F.

In food processor or with a mixer, combine flour, sugar, and cornstarch.  Add butter, in chunks.  Whirl or mix until dough is well blended.

Scrape dough onto a lightly buttered 14 x 17-inch baking sheet.  Using hands, pat dough out 1/4-inch thick, then shape into a heart that is about 12 inches tall and 14 inches wide.

With the top of a skewer, a toothpick, or a sharp knife, write a message on the heart, scoring lightly.  If you don't like the results, pat smooth and try again.  Press chocolate pieces into lines.  Lightly sprinkle with red glazing sugar, if desired.

Bake cookie in a 275° oven until pale gold, about 1 hour.  At once, cut cookie with a sharp knife by pressing straight down.  Cut into 6-10 pieces of random shapes, but leave in place until cool.

With a wide spatula, gently transfer pieces to a large platter or board, disassembling the heart and message.  Serve, or wrap airtight up until the next day; freeze to store longer.  Invite your valentine to reassemble the puzzle and read the message.  Eat it!  Makes a 1 3/4 pound cookie, 12-16 servings.

My notes about the recipe:  The batter will be a little crumbly.  It helps to roll it flat with a rolling pin.  Dust the surface of the flattened dough very lightly with flour and rub flour on the rolling pin.  You can also use a rigid plastic spatula or a similar tool in putty knife fashion to smooth the surface of the cookie.  Don't get too carried away, however.  It will flatten out nicely in the oven.

3 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sand and Sunshine said...

What a great idea for Valentines. You know what comes to mind? Food coloring. Adding food coloring to the cookie dough to make it red. I do that already with my sugar cookies around this time of year (and green for St. Pattys) so this takes it to another level. Cute.

Loretta said...

This is so cool! You aren't the only one with memories...lol! Have a Super weekend! Luv

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Had my grandsons here today for a visit - and we baked M&M cookies.