Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

Paddy's Day is just around the corner, and who doesn't like a cookie or two to accompany their Irish coffee? These tender, buttery cookies are courtesy of Martha Stewart. In search of the "perfect" sugar cookie, not only did I come across her recipe and a tutorial or two, but also the technique for the exact decorations I had in mind. And as a textile artist....stenciling is right up my alley.

Note, the three-leaf clover is the traditional shamrock symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick...but who can't use a little luck now and again...


adapted from the Clover Cookie recipe at

Makes approximately four dozen 3" cookies

The Ingredients:
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Green sanding sugar

The Process:
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl; set aside. Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment; cream on high speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two additions, mixing until well combined. Mix in vanilla. Divide dough in half, and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface 1/8 inch thick. With a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 25 rounds. Working with 1 round at a time, place clover stencil on top; sprinkle surface with sanding sugar.

Arrange rounds on parchment- or nonstick baking mat-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes, or until ready to bake. Repeat process with remaining dough.Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges just start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

My Modifications:
I designed my own stencil. And unlike Martha, I do not have a stand mixer. I relied on my little electric hand mixer to cream the sugar and butter, and sheer arm strength to add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Also...I may or may not have added 2 Tbsp of whiskey to the batter...
The Review:
Well, if no cookies remain on the plate after tomorrow's St Patrick's Day gathering, I will know they were a hit. The first batch seemed a tad dry, and I suspect my oven runs hot. After reducing the bake time to 8 minutes the rest came out more tender, but just barely golden brown. The recipe claims to make about 50, and though I know I was rolling the dough out thicker than the recommended 1/8" I still somehow managed to end up with closer to 6 dozen. Oh well. Who doesn't like extra cookies?

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