When starting thinking about homemade cookies sometimes you may doubt if it’s worth the effort – believe me: it is! However, I discovered that you can manage to optimize your cookie production… I started w/ homemade shortbread cookies keeping in mind to produce different types of cookies based on the same basic dough, but varying flavors & ingredients.
At first I’d like to emphasize that this isn’t any pre-Xmas cookie baking adventure: although there are only about 2 months left until Xmas – today we’re just trying to find a process to produce homemade shortbread cookies all year round w/ economically justifiable effort. I picked shortbread cookies – well, I think, we’ll find similar processes for any other cookies in near future.
Until now you’ve seen in this contribution:
- chocolate covered vanilla shortbread cookies,
- cardamom shortbread cookies peppered w/ pistachios
- lemon flavoured shortbread cookies w/ grated chocolate &
- ginger flavoured shortbread cookies w/ grated chocolate… (yes: both types (lemon & ginger) look alike…, but taste different!).
That’s the job!
What do we need?
(It’s important for the efficiency to get ready everything in advance!)
For the shortbread cookie dough:
- icing sugar
For the flavoring:
- vanilla & chocolate for the icing
- grated dark chocolate & grated lemon zest
- grated dark chocolate & grated fresh ginger or ground ginger
- finely chopped pistachios & ground cardamom.
Using fresh ginger leads to a rather delicate ginger flavour while ground ginger is the real solution for any ginger enthusiast.
For the record:
The idea of pistachio w/ cardamom is based on a recipe published by “Kaffee und Cupcakes”.
For each batch we need the same amount of flour, icing sugar, salt & butter. The further ingredients are ready so far & sit on our workplace until used.
We start w/ the vanilla type of shortbread cookies.
Everything is put in a bowl: then roll up your sleeves & store your jewellery in a safe place before you start kneading the dough or better: crumble everything together & form a long roll (diameter about 4-5 cm).
I made dough rolls of about 5 cm leading to about 23-25 shortbread cookies per dough roll.
Wrap it up in wrapping film & smooth it just by rolling (it’s quite easy!).
Repeat with the rest of the shortbread cookie types resulting in 4 long rolls!
All of the 4 rolls march into the fridge for at least 30 min. (The crumbling & kneading tends to soften the dough which won’t be appropriate for cutting slices.)
I happen to own a fridge w/ a special section where the temperature is only few degrees over freezing point. If I place the rolls in this section 30 min are sufficient – if you use the somewhat “warmer” fridge section it may be necessary to cool the rolls for 60 min or so: you should test the softness of the shortbread dough every now & then.
In the meantime prepare the baking trays by lining them w/ baking parchment & pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C w/ fan.
Finally unwrap the cooled rolls & cut them in slices of about 0,5 cm – if you can manage (maybe it’s a little thicker – it doesn’t matter!). Each roll will make about 23-25 slices. Arrange the slices in a 5 × 3 pattern on the baking trays: each baking tray is therefore ready to give home to 15 shortbread cookies.
My oven can support 3 baking trays (that’s also my ultimate supply on equipment). So I can produce 45 shortbread cookies during a baking session. (4 rolls are up to about 100 cookies: I made it 3/2/2 (= 3 baking sessions: the 1st with 3 baking trays, then twice with 2 baking trays).)
…and here we are!
The shortbread cookies are ready when starting to get brown on the edges.
When leaving the oven the cookies are rather soft so you’ll need to wait 2-3 min before being able to transfer them to a cooling rack.
Now we’re ready!!! Or? Well… there is always the possibility to do some finishing by chocolate icing or whatever.
So we start w/ the vanilla shortbread cookies… & the dark chocolate chunks…
As soon as the chocolate is creamy & no longer really hot we dip each shortbread cookie in the liquid chocolate until half covered on the surface (only on the surface – not on the back!) & let it rest on a plate marching asap in the fridge for setting the chocolate.
Now it’s really finished!
- We create different shortbread cookies based on the same basics by varying the flavour: that’s really something like an assembly line action! Getting ready the different flavors & to start the baking sessions is quick & easy: the most time consuming task will be the baking!
- We can’t push on the baking: our oven is limited, our baking trays are limited. Therefore 4 batches of cookies are the maximum we should try – I think.
(Of course you can always confine yourself to only 1 batch!)
- Amounts can easily be adapted: just double everything when aiming for about 50 lemon flavoured shortbread cookies instead of only about 25.
- …& there is the finishing!
As I learnt long before any icing adventures will take their time! Nothing is more time consuming than dealing w/ chocolate icing – & more greasy, smeared w/ lots of splatters, splashes, spots, dashes demanding a serious cleaning effort afterwards.
For a start care for enough space in your fridge (test if the plate or rack you plan to use fits in your fridge!) as long as you’re working during spring, summer or autumn (& also winter – depending on your location). If it’s cold outside (really cold, freezing cold) you may just put your plate outside (terrace, balcony or whatever) & cover it w/ a mosquito net umbrella.
If this is clarified start with the icing adventure: you may do it simply like me by just dipping… or just pouring the liquid chocolate over the cake… or you can try to use a pastry bag which is more convenient for whipped cream, any butter cream frosting, any cream cheese frosting or whatever. In the last case you’ll definitely need a lot of experience…
So: think about twice if it’s necessary to do icing & if you really like to do it…
The Businesswoman with too many office hours thinks
Understood: the more I streamline the process & the more I get ready everything beforehand the easier the shortbread cookie production process.