In honor of Halloween, I decided to do some holiday baking this weekend. Multi-colored shortbread cookies really lend themselves to holiday baking because they pack a visual punch, are easier to make than they look, and are a flexible base for lots of different flavors.
I started with this recipe from Food Network. For the chocolate dough, I made it just as it is in the recipe, but I added food coloring to the vanilla dough. Additionally, I wanted to make things a little more interesting than just chocolate & vanilla, so (after pondering a couple of different flavor options, including cinnamon & fall spices), I added the zest of one giant navel orange.
Here are the doughs after chilling in the fridge. I was careful to add my food coloring little by little & with more yellow than red, and it paid off with a very nice orange hue.
The next step is the most complicated, and it requires rolling out each dough, then stacking and trimming. Here’s where my love of polymer paid off, because this is basically the same thing as making a striped polymer clay cane.
The dough/cane went back into the fridge to really firm up so it was easier to slice (another part that’s just like polymer!). The bits of orange peel caused a few drag marks, but they were just a minor imperfection.
They baked beautifully and I got a few dozen lovely striped cookies.
With some of the odds & ends, I made spirals. Here are the presentable ones (the un-presentable ones still tasted fine, though, I promise).
While the orange flavor worked alright, I’m not totally in love with it. Next time, I’ll go for something else. I think some cinnamon & other spices would do nicely, or mint, or espresso powder.
My favorite thing with this kind of recipe is that it really lends itself to variation. With a little bit of variation in the flavors/food coloring, you can make these cookies to suit whatever you like. I made a similar recipe last year, and it also turned out well, so if you prefer mint over chocolate, I recommend you click over to that one.