There’s no autumn or winter where I live in India. We really just have a rainy season, a cooler end of the year which gives way to a hot summer. We’re at the end of an extra-long rainy season right now. The cooler weather, and the beautiful fall colours on Instagram, Pinterest and blogs inspired these Spiced Shortbread Leaf Cookies.
The real shortbread lover in this house is our daughter. She’s also the person I usually bake for but she isn’t at home. One of her cousins is visiting home though and her little boy seems to enjoy the stuff I bake. So I need very little excuse to bake these days.
I first saw fall colours for real late last year when we visited the UK. Every season is beautiful in its own way. The bright colours that nature wears in the temperate regions of the world is something else though. I dug out my leaf shaped cookie cutters and got to work.
I must confess that I didn’t really do a great job with marbling the colours in the dough. However, I will tell you that this recipe does make a really good shortbread. So do make this recipe if you love shortbread. You can choose autumn colours or not, leaves or some other shape, or just plain shortbread squares or rectangles.
You could also make these cookies using your favourite sugar cookie dough. I chose shortbread because I ran out of eggs! Just colour the sugar cookie dough, marble it and make cut out cookies like you normally would.
Spiced Shortbread Leaf Cookies
- 150 gm unsalted butter soft at room temperature⠀
- 2/3 cup icing sugar⠀
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour⠀
- Few drops food colouring (yellow, orange, red and green)
- Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the butter till fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minute, till smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and allspice powders. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Mix the salt and flour together and mix this into the butter-sugar mixture.
- Divide this mixture into 4 equal portions. Mix one colour into each portion (yellow, orange, red and green). Flatten each portion into rounds and stack all four, one on top of the other. Divide the stacks into two and roll them into balls, swirling the colours. Don’t work the dough too much or you will not have a distinctly patterned marbling.
- Flatten again into rounds, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate at least for an hour. You can leave this for a day or two as well and work on the dough later. If doing this, leave it on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes before working on it.
- Working on one round of dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured counter or between two pieces of parchment, until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes using leaf shaped cutters.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a butter knife, create “veins” on the cut out leaves. Refrigerate till firm (about 20 to 30 minutes).
- Bake at 170C (325F) for 12 to 18 minutes till the edges of the cookies start turning a golden brown. Watch them as they can burn rather quickly! Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.