by Judy Kim
Confetti Christmas Shortbread Cookies
Yield: Approximately 50 (2 1/2-inch) cookies
Happy Holidays! This is a tender sweet and salty shortbread cookie that has incredible texture. The toasted walnut and almond topping combined with sparkling sugar adds just the right amount of crunch and glitz. Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season. But don't limit these cookies to the month of December, try different shapes to enjoy them any time of the year.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling, such as Jacobsen Salt Co.
1 egg, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, extra for rolling
1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
Assorted sparkling sugar, I used pink and white
Your favorite holiday cookie cutter
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add butter and beat on high until pale in color, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and sea salt. Start on low and increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and don't miss the very bottom.
With the mixer on low, add flour in 3 increments; scraping in between in addition. Careful not to overmix or you'll get a tough dough. Cookie mixture will be a bit crumbly. Divide cookie dough in half and wrap each half with plastic wrap and shape into a flat disk. I even like to roll the dough in the plastic to make it even, which will make it easier to roll later. Let dough rest in fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a dry large sized skillet on medium-low heat, toast walnuts and almonds until fragrant. Shake pan to prevent nuts from burning. Transfer to a plate until cool to the touch. Place nuts in a plastic bag and gently crush nuts with a rolling pin into small pieces. To protect your counter, place the bag on a folded kitchen towel. Transfer to a bowl.
Lightly flour your counter and rolling pin. Roll cookie dough into 1/4-inch thickness. Using a bench scraper loosen and lift the dough; lightly flour the counter again. This will make it easier to remove the cookies after cutting them out.
While dipping your cookie cutter in flour, cut out cookies placing them as close together as possible. Dip the cutters in flour as needed. Gather leftover scraps and re-roll to cut out remaining dough. Transfer cookies to sheet pans; top with crushed nuts and sprinkle your color choice of sparkling sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt and transfer to a cooling rack.
You can make this dough in advance and keep in the fridge. Bring dough to room temperature before baking for best results.
Since the dough is crumbly and soft, I suggest to use a simple cookie cutter shape without too many tiny details as the dough may get stuck. I used a Christmas Tree shape, but you can use a cutter for any year round holiday. Originally I tried an oversized detailed tree shape and the size made it difficult to transfer without falling apart.
When decorating the cookies, I used white sparkling sugar at the top and mixed the pink and white sugar over the nuts to help create texture and sparkle.