Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies


Every four years, Family Circle magazine holds a presidential bake-off pitting the future first ladies against each other. From Hilary Clinton’s Chips to Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies, these delicious cookies have become an American tradition that I hope will continue on to 2012.

While Cindy McCain’s Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies were victorious this election cycle, in honor of today’s inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president, we are sharing Michelle’s recipe for Shortbread cookies. Following is the recipe as it ran in Family Circle, however, we made a few adaptations. First, we substituted ½ teaspoon of almond extract for the Amaretto (simply because we didn’t have any) and then we added ¾ cup each of sliced almonds and coarsely chopped dried cherries. Michelle also asks for you to line your pan with foil, I think for convenience. I actually found the foil terribly inconvenient, especially when spreading the dough and slicing the cookies. When I make the cookies again (and I will because they are scrumptious!), I will probably cut that step and hope that the clean up isn’t too bad.


Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies

Courtesy of Family Circle

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Amaretto
1 teaspoon each orange and lemon zest
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg white
Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)

Heat oven to 325°F. Line a 17x12x1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. In large bowl, cream together butter and 1 ½ cups sugar. Slowly add egg yolks and beat well until smooth. Beat in Amaretto and zest. Stir in flour and salt until combined. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as possible. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using) and with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until brown, turn off oven and allow cookies to sit in oven (with door ajar) for 15 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.

Make 3 dozen cookies.

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