Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Shortbread Cookies

I’m excited to kick off my #Choctoberfest recipes with this scrumptious recipe for shortbread cookies! Shortbread cookies are one of my favorite cookies – they’re simple, but oh so good! I love the combination of the vanilla and chocolate and they weren’t too sweet.

These cookies feature baking cocoa from one of our sponsors, Rodelle. I’m always on the hunt for premium ingredients and this cocoa did not disappoint! It’s much darker in color than other cocoa I’ve used in the past and has a richer flavor. In addition to a great flavor, Rodelle’s Gourmet Baking Cocoa has health benefits, including antioxidants, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamins. It’s also kosher, gluten-free and non-GMO.

Rodelle has been around since 1936 and offers a complete line of superior baking ingredients, baking extracts, and gourmet spice blends that will take your culinary adventures from good to┬ágrand. I can’t wait to try more of their products in the future!

Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Shortbread Cookies | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
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Mini Shortbread Bites – #FilltheCookieJar

It’s February 2 and that means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! This month, our theme for Fill the Cookie Jar is Valentine’s Day. I was thinking about making something chocolate, but I’m trying to be really good about my eating….so I made some mini shortbread bites for my kids. They loved them and they were the perfect bites for them.

These cookies were easy to whip up and bake. They’re not too sweet and have the perfect amount of sugar to kill a sugar craving. Of course, I had to sample one so I could describe them for you ­čÖé

Mini Shortbread Bites | Join Us, Pull up a Chair #fillthecookiejar

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Caramel Chocolate Shortbread

Last week, my company had their holiday luncheon and I always look for a new recipe to make and came across this recipe for caramel chocolate shortbread. I love Twix bars and this totally reminded me of them…though better since I accidentally browned the butter while making caramel. It really amp’d up the flavor and added more depth of flavor. I doubt I could do it again and I’m not even sure what I did, but I’m glad it happened. The shortbread layer is light and fluffy, the gooey caramel and a chocolate top – perfection!

Caramel Chocolate Shortbread | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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Cranberry Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014This is my second year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s so much fun and I love that we partner with Cookies for Kids Cancer to help support this amazing non-profit!

Once you’ve signed up to participate in the swap, you’re assigned three other food bloggers and send each one a dozen cookies. Then you get three dozen cookies in the mail! My kids were loving this and came home each day waiting for our swap cookies to arrive. The one requirement is that we’re to make a cookie that is new to us. I searched high and low and found a recipe for pistachio shortbread cookies. Well…after seeing the price of pistachios (holy sticker shock!) I decided to take the base recipe and make a few modifications to use common ingredients that I always have in my pantry – dried cranberries and ground vanilla beans.

These cookies are easy to make and modify to whatever flavor you want! They would be great with fresh orange zest or lemon zest instead of the vanilla….the possibilities are endless!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add in the vanilla extract and mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and ground vanilla bean. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the butter-sugar mixture until a dough forms. Stir in the cranberries by hand.

On a foot long piece of plastic wrap, form the dough into a log about 9 to 10 inches long, about 2.5 inches thick. Wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough with a serrated knife 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

After packaging up the cookies, I sent a dozen off to:

A Zesty Bite
Dang that’s Delicious┬á
Cooking with Curls

I received cookies from the following bloggers:

The Freshman Cook sent me the cutest Gingerbread Men. The kids gobbled them up!
Susan from A Less Processed Life sent delicious Billionaire Bars..I devoured these!
The Toasted Sprinkle sent a dozen Cris Kringle cookies. My husband loved these!

Shortbread cookie recipe slightly adapted from The View From the Great Island