Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s 2-for-1 Shortbread Cookie Recipe Will Make Holiday Baking a Breeze

published Dec 17, 2021
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Ina Garten is one smart cookie. Though we’re still soaking in all the things she taught us this year, the culinary maven has even more wise words to dish out before we head into the holidays. Recently appearing on TODAY, the cookbook author and Food Network host shared a few of her favorite recipes, useful tips, and tasty tricks for holiday treats. And of course, cookies were included.

If you want to impress guests with your Christmas-themed confections but can’t find the time to bake an assortment of cookies, Ina aka the Barefoot Contessa, shows us how to work smarter — not harder — in the kitchen. So what’s the trick, you ask? Instead of making multiple doughs for different cookies, Ina bakes shortbread dough and uses that to make a variety of cookies.

The shortbread cookie recipe comes from Eli Zabar and has been Ina’s all-time favorite cookie since she tried her first one over 15 years ago. It is simple and includes five ingredients that are most likely already sitting in your pantry: butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt. The best thing about shortbread dough is that you can use it to make various types of cookies.

After making the shortbread, Ina cuts it into different holiday shapes, such as wreaths and Christmas trees, and adorns the cookies with glazes, icings, sprinkles, and even dunks them in chocolate. Ina then shows viewers how she uses this same recipe to make pecan-studded shortbread cookies. And if you’re wondering, it’s just as simple.

Don’t happen to be a huge fan of pecans? Don’t worry, you can sub those out for any nut you like. If you do happen to stick to using pecans, Ina does suggest that you roast them on a baking sheet at 350°F for eight minutes prior to chopping. This will add extra flavor.

In the segment, Ina also gives us tips on chilling your dough after cutting it, storing your cookies to extend shelf life, and how to ship them so you can share your holiday creations with your loved ones — because we know the holidays are as much about giving as they are about dazzling your friends and family with your kitchen skills.

You can get the recipes for both Ina’s shortbread cookies and her pecan-studded shortbread cookies here.