Summertime Cookies

Celebrate our country with cookies!

Wednesday, the thermometer in my car read 112 degrees.

ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE DEGREES.

Where I am from, to say it is hot is an understatement. It is hooooootttttt. Or, as most people put it- “The fall is a Southerners reward for surviving the summer.”

Needless to say, turning on my oven sounds less than appealing. However, due to a time crunch and emphatic promise to my Southern mama that I would bake something for the Fourth of July barbeque, I had to come up with something. After a brief flip through my all-time favorite dessert cookbook, I decided on vanilla shortbread cookies. They were light, buttery- and a perfect pairing for my mom’s homemade peach ice cream (the recipe which, as of now, remains undisclosed. Some things you have to just keep in the family.)

So turn on your oven, stick your head in the freezer, and pray that fall comes quickly. In the meantime, enjoy these delicious cookies that are an ode to both the brightness of summer, and the hope that cool breezes will come quickly!

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (this recipe calls for European-style, but I was in a pinch so just used Land o’Lakes unsalted, my personal favorite), room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to Do:

Sift flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing until just blended each time. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Roll each half into 6-inch-long log; wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (I left mine in the fridge overnight.).

Position racks in top third and center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Cut each log crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on 2 heavy large baking sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart (cookies will spread very little). Bake cookies 9 minutes. Reverse baking sheets; bake just until cookies turn golden brown at edges, about 9 minutes longer. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute. Using thin metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks; cool.

Optional blueberry glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons cranberry blueberry juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to Do:

Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until all lumps are gone and it is the consistency is of a thin glaze (or in other words, it should be a bit thicker than what glue feels like). Feel free to dip the cookies in the glaze or drizzle the glaze over them for a pretty presentation.

Also, I couldn’t resist showing you what my brother’s Fourth of July plate looked like. And before you ask, no he did not partake in any side items.

This is what happens when a 20-year-old male goes on a meat spree.

The cookies cool down by a pool of peach ice cream.

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