Veguary 3rd: Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads


Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads

Of course I spent my work-free snow day baking, what a silly question to ask.

This is my own recipe, but it is heavily inspired by Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.  I have no words that are sufficient to describe this book’s awesomeness.  I can only offer this video as a rough equivalent.

Red Hots

I tried to make a cookie with a flavor profile similar to Red Hots candy, without all the sickliness of red-dye overload that comes after eating 100 of those frickers… because we’ve all been there.  Admit it.

Accordingly, this cookie makes a great addition to your Valentine’s Day plans.  Just add sparkling wine and your favorite human.

Sexy Red-Hot Shortbreads
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

For the topping:

1/2 cup turbino sugar
2 tablespoons pink or red decorator sugar
2 tablespoons coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg

For the cookies:

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (Earth Balance brand comes in helpful pre-measured blocks)
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (same as above – EB all the way)
3/4 cup powered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1&1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a shallow, wine-mouth bowl, mix together the topping ingredients.   Set aside.

Using an stand mixer, cream together the shortening and margarine.  Slowly add powered sugar and extracts.  Beat until fluffy and smooth.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together flours, spices, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to creamed ingredients.

Start pre-heating oven to 350F.

Divide the dough in two.  Form each portion into logs, roughly 15 cm by 5 cm (6 inches by 2 inches). Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick slices. Gently press one side of the cookie into the topping.  Place the cookies topping side up on the cookie sheet at least 5 cm apart – you should be able to fit one dozen cookies on an average-sized cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until puffed, firm and slightly brown on the bottom. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving.

Chocolate Chip Chai Spice Shortbread

From Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romer

Shortbread was one of the few things I was sad about ‘giving up’ when I became a vegan.  I just assumed the melty buttery goodness could only come from *dramatic shoulder shrug and arm raise* … butter.  There are only a handful of times I’ve been so happy to be wrong.  It was like seeing the first Harry Potter movie.  I cried fangirl tears of joy, but I digress…

It turns out that the lovely, reassuring texture of shortbread can be obtained through vegetable shortening and margarine.  This is the cookie I would bake for a friend who has just been dumped.  It’s like childhood and ‘buck up you’re an independent woman’ all rolled into one.  The spice is light and the chocolate is strong.  Next time I make them I’ll bump up the former and tone down the latter.

This is another cookie I tested on my coworkers.  The shortbread lovers were especially complimentary.

Coworker (non-vegan) rating: 4.5 photocopiers out of five

Hubby (fellow vegan) rating: 4.5 film reels out of five

Skill level: average, not a good starter cookie, otherwise straight-forward. Much easier with a good stand mixer.

Ingredient weirdness rating: low, but you’ll need a store with a good spice selection

Overall HHH rating: 5 Destiny’s Child’s out of five