Shortbread Chicks and a Robin

I was at the Kane County Flea Market this Saturday, and the moment I saw a little chicken cookie cutter for sale in a basket with other antique cookie cutters, I almost shouted “stop the presses,” because I immediately changed what I would post about today. I thought of a wonderful shortbread recipe I have, and how perfect it would be to make little shortbread chick cookies. Or are they hens? Whatever they are, I’m enjoying them.

I’ve used this shortbread recipe before, to make little glittering stars for Christmas. This recipe is truly wonderful–the dough is easy to mix and can be re-rolled. The cookie itself is buttery and melts in your mouth.

Shortbread Chicks

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

one beaten egg for glazing
yellow granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth, and then add the sugar and vanilla. Beat well until fluffy. (This can be done with a large spoon.) Mix the flour with the salt. Add to the butter mixture, and stir briefly, to start to bring it together. Then mix the dough together with your impeccably clean hands. It will be a bit crumbly.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/4″ thick. (Divide the dough in half, and roll out one batch at a time.) Cut dough out with your  cookie cutter and set aside. Using a pastry brush, brush each cookie with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with yellow sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the rest of the cookies.

Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes, or when the edges of the cookie turn golden brown. This makes approximately three dozen cookies, but it will depend on how large your cookie cutter is.

Baking notes: Be sure that the butter is softened. It shouldn’t be separated or oily, but it should be soft enough to beat with the spoon. You can make the colored sugar by mixing 1/4 cup granulated sugar with two drops of yellow food dye. Toss the sugar until evenly colored. You can use any cutter for this recipe–a bunny, an Easter egg . . . whatever you might enjoy. This recipe comes from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book.

Below are my flea market finds–the chicken cookie cutter, a little nutmeg jar, and a flow blue bone dish. I think the bone dish was part of a dinner set. Diners would daintily set any bones onto the dish when they were finished eating. The little pansies came from the flea market, as well. Couldn’t resist!

Below: Colored sugar mixed in a teacup, the butter and sugar mixture, the crumbly dough, cut out cookies, the markings on the cookies, made with the dull side of a dinner knife, and the finished cookies.

Robin

I saw this robin perched in a rose bush that is just leafing out. He (or she) is so sweet!

Lastly, I found another wonderful poem by the Persian poet Hafiz. Hope you enjoy! Peace. Fran

A Potted Plant

I pull a sun from my coin purse each day.

And at night I let my pet the moon
Run freely into the sky meadow.

If I whistled,
She would turn her head and look at me.

If I then waved my arms,
She would come back wagging a marvelous
tail
Of stars.

There are always a few men like me
In this world.

Who are house-sitting for God.
We share His royal duties:

I water each day a favorite potted plant
Of His–
This earth.

Ask the Friend for love.
Ask Him again.

For I have learned that every heart will get
What it prays for
Most.

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