The holidays are coming up and everyone is having parties and making lots of treats. Christmas cookies are a tradition, so why not make a simple old-fashioned shortbread cookie? So, I pulled out the girls’ “Usborne Children’s Book of Baking” because I knew it had a simple recipe. But, I made a few changes to make is slightly healthier.
My version of the recipe substitutes whole wheat pastry flour for the regular white flour and Demerara or “sugar in the raw” for the white sugar. I did run the sugar through the food processor first to make it finer. Note: I used salted butter (what I normally have in the kitchen), but if you use unsalted, you might need an dash of salt. I also made my dough in the processor like I make my whole wheat biscuits. Can you tell I love my KitchenAid Food Processor?
Since this recipe is so simple, it is a great opportunity for your kids to help you in the kitchen. Sarah helped measure and pour the flour and sugar and put the chunks of butter in. She also helped cut a few of the cookies out and then all the girls helped decorate the edges by punching around the stars with a toothpick before baking. The decorating idea did come from the Usborne book.
These are not “health food”since they are basically empty calories, but only with only 4 or 5 ingredients that are all real food items that a 5th grader can pronounce, they are probably better for you than just about any store-bought cookie.
Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars
- 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 sticks real butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (that is 1/2 lb or 1 whole cup!)
- 1/2 cup “sugar in the raw” that was run in the food processor to make it finer
- 1-2 Tbsp of Orange juice plus about 1 Tbsp orange zest OR 1-2 Tbsp of milk plus 1/2 tsp real orange extract
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Go ahead and process your sugar by itself in your food processor to make it “superfine”. If using a real orange, go ahead and zest and juice it now.
- Put the flour and sugar in the food processor; pulse to combine. Then, add the butter cubes and pulse until it looks like tiny peas. Add the juice/zest or milk/extract and pulse until it comes together and starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball.
- Sprinkle board with a little flour. Dump dough out onto board and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as necessary to avoid sticking and make a soft dough.
- Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into whatever shape you like, we made stars. Prick with toothpick and place on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for a couple fo minutes. Move cookies to cooling rack and let cool completely before enjoying.