Friday, June 27, 2008

My Cookies Are Voting Blue

When it came to a Cindy McCain vs. Michelle Obama cookie faceoff between myself and a co-worker, I gladly signed up for the challenge, even picking what I thought to be the more difficult of the two recipes. On screen, Michelle is eloquent, thought-provoking, pointed (though some would call her angry) but not the kind of gal I envision at home with an apron serving Barack cookies in one hand with a brandy in the other. But I digress.

After getting home from a 10-hour shift in 100-degree weather,the last thing I wanted to do was sweat over shortbread for a couple of hours. However, after popping in The Holiday and changing into some sweats, I was good to go.

Since I am the type of cook who likes to make things easier on herself, I melted the three sticks of butter in the microwave and creamed the sugar and butter together. Adding the orange and lemon zest was not the problem, nor was the amaretto, but the sweat came in when I was trying to separate the egg whites from the yolks. I highly recommend buying an egg separator to avoid the balancing act I had to achieve by manually scooping out the yolks.

My readers usually expect a small level of tragedy when it comes to my cooking but despite the length of the recipe (and the fact I put the dough on regular foil vs. non stick, which meant I had to take it off, put it back in the bowl and spray it with Pam) it wasn't bad at all. And better yet, most people voted that my cookies were better than my competition. Always my most cherished desire: that people enjoy my cooking. C'est bon!

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies

Makes: 6 dozen 2-inch x 3-inch cookies


* 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 egg yolks
* 2 tablespoons Amaretto (almond liqueur)
* 1 teaspoon each orange and lemon zest
* 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 beaten egg white
* Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional) (I used walnuts, which made it very tasty.)


1. Heat oven to 325 degree F. Line a 17 x 12 x 1-inch baking pan with
nonstick foil. In large bowl, cream together butter and 1-1/2 cups of the

2. Slowly add egg yolks, and beat well until smooth. Beat in Amaretto and

3. Stir in flour and salt until combined.

4. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as

5. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using)
and with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

6. Bake at 325 degree F 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.

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