Chocolate Shortbread Stars
We love the buttery, flaky texture of shortbread, and this chocolate version does not disappoint. Children will have fun creating designs on the cookies by dragging a toothpick through red and white royal icing.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt (optional)
- 2 egg whites (pasteurized eggs are preferred since the whites will not be cooked)*
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 3 ½ to 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- Optional: red food coloring
*If you are concerned about using raw egg whites to make the frosting, the lemon juice and egg whites can be heated to 160 degrees and then cooled b
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light in texture, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and cocoa and mix until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides if necessary. Add the flour and sea salt (if using) and mix on low speed until thoroughly incorporated, about 2-3 minutes. The dough should be uniform in color.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll to form two balls, then flatten each ball into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each disk in a piece of parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap the dough and place another piece of parchment paper atop the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between the two pieces of parchment to a thickness of ¼ inch. Remove the top layer of parchment and cut as many cookies as you can, using a 3-inch star cookie cutter (or other desired shape). Gather dough scraps and re-roll. If the dough gets too warm and begins to stick, place it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Repeat with the other disk of dough.
- Place the cookies 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies on it) onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Combine the lemon juice and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add 3 ½ cups powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated and free of lumps. For a thicker icing, add the additional ½ cup of powdered sugar.
- Divide the icing into two bowls and stir in a few drops of food coloring into one bowl, adding enough to create a vibrant red color. Ice the cookies as desired, using a toothpick or blunt knife to create different patterns on the cookies. Allow the icing to set completely before serving.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or they can be frozen for 2 weeks.
Note: This makes a very large batch of icing, so you can decorate other cookies with it as well; cut it in half if you are only making the shortbread cookies.