Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

恭喜发财 / Gong Xi Fa Cai / Gong Hei Fat Choi / Congratulations and be prosperous! Today’s the first day of the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year, and it’s the Year of the Monkey / 猴. Happy New Year, everyone! Growing up in Hawaii, the start of the lunar new year was something I looked forward to every year because it was a day filled with fun and great food! Looking back at it, I feel like I was so lucky to have grown up in Hawaii, where the dragon / lion dancers roamed the halls of our schools and there was an abundance of delicious Chinese delicacies floating around. 糕 / Gao / Gau / Mochi Cake, which is made of sweet rice flour, brown slab sugar, and a touch of peanut oil, then steamed and topped with sesame seeds and dried red dates, was one of my favorite treats. However, my absolute, hands-down favorite was the杏仁餅/ Xing Ren Bing / Chinese almond biscuit (cookies). They were dreamy—think crumbly, buttery, and almond scented cookies. Almost like a shortbread cookie, but shaped like a coin.

If you ask any small child what their favorite Lunar New Year tradition is, they’d likely say 紅包 / hongbao / lai see / red packages (or envelopes); I know they were high up there on my list of favorites way back when. I mean, what child wouldn’t be thrilled to receive small red envelopes stuffed with dollar bills (or more if you’re really lucky)? Usually given by family and close family friends, these envelopes are also given to exceptional dragon / lion dancers. Always red, these envelopes are usually emblazoned with various phrases and characters sending fortune and luck to the recipient.

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

This year, I’m combining two of my favorite Lunar New Year’s traditions and sharing these almond shortbread cookies shaped like red envelopes and emblazoned with the Chinese character for the Year of the Monkey / 猴. The beauty of these cookies is that while they’re somewhat impressive, they’re quite easy to pull together with minimal tools. Start by attaching your flat beater attachment to your KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Stand Mixer. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl of your Stand Mixer, and mix sugar on low for a minute or two, to break up any lumps. Next add the softened butter to the powdered sugar and cream for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add almond extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt then add to the sugar-butter mixture and mix on low until just incorporated. Form the dough into a 5-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch rectangle and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out chilled dough to a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1/4-inch rectangle and place in a parchment lined Kitchenaid® Jelly Roll Pan. Poke holes all over the shortbread dough with a toothpick and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are barely browned. Immediately cut into 18 cookies made up by 2-1/8-inch x 3-1/8-inch rectangles, or whatever size you prefer, with a sharp knife. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

To make the icing, fit the flat beater on your Stand Mixer, In a clean bowl, mix together powdered sugar and meringue powder on low for a minute or two until combined and all the lumps have been broken up. Add 1/4 cup of warm water and beat on low until combined. Next, add corn syrup and almond extract and increase to medium-high speed. Beat for three or four minutes until glossy, almost firm peaks form. Add more warm water to achieve desired consistency if it is necessary. The icing should be thick and fluffy.

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Put 1/3 of the icing in a small bowl. Mix in a few drops of yellow food coloring gel and mix in with a spatula until a uniform bright yellow color is achieved. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining icing with several drops of red food coloring gel, mixing with a spatula until a uniform bright red color is achieved. Take 1/3 of the red icing and fill a piping bag, fitted with a small, round writing tip. Pipe a border around each cookie. Next fill the same bag, if all the icing has been used, or a new bag fitted with the same size tip with red “flooding” icing. The flooding icing is made with the remaining red icing and water. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of water at a time until desired honey-like consistency is achieved. Fill the inside of the cookie with the red “flooding” icing and spread with an offset spatula, exaggerating spread slightly to help add filled envelope texture.

Almond Shortbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Let the red iced cookies dry completely, then fill another piping bag, fitted with a small, round writing tip, with the yellow icing and write the the Year of the Monkey Chinese character, 猴, or whatever you’d like to write! Let icing dry completely before serving!

Be sure to share your take on this Almond Shortbread Cookie recipe with us on Instagram using #MadeWithKitchenAid for a chance to be featured.

Almond Shortbread Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

In the bowl of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, fitted with the flat beater attachment, mix powdered sugar on low for a minute or two, to break up any lumps. Add in the softened butter and cream for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add almond extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt, then add to the sugar-butter mixture and mix on low until just incorporated. Form the dough into a 5-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch rectangle and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out chilled dough to a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1/4-inch rectangle and place in a parchment lined KitchenAid® Jelly Roll Pan. Poke holes all over the shortbread dough with a toothpick and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are barely browned.

Immediately cut into 18 cookies made up by 2-1/8-inch x 3-1/8-inch rectangles, or whatever size you prefer, with a sharp knife.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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Royal Icing

Makes approximately 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

10 ounces powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 cup warm water (plus more if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS

In the bowl of a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together powdered sugar and meringue powder on low for a minute or two until combined and all the lumps have been broken up. Add 1/4 cup of warm water and beat on low until combined. Then add corn syrup and almond extract and increase speed to medium-high speed. Beat for three or four minutes until glossy, almost firm peaks form. Add more warm water to achieve desired consistency if it is necessary. The icing should be thick and fluffy.

Put 1/3 of the icing in a small bowl. Mix in a few drops of yellow food coloring gel and mix in with a spatula until a uniform bright yellow color is achieved. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining icing with several drops of red food coloring gel, mixing with a spatula until a uniform bright red color is achieved. Take 1/3 of the red icing and fill a piping bag, fitted with a small, round writing tip. Pipe a border around each cookie. Next fill the same bag, if all the icing has been used or a new bag fitted with the same size tip with red “flooding” icing. The flooding icing is made with the remaining red icing and water. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of water at a time until desired honey-like consistency is achieved. Fill the inside of the cookie with the red “flooding” icing and spread with an offset spatula, exaggerating spread slightly to help add filled envelope texture.

Let the red iced cookies dry completely, then fill another piping bag, fitted with a small, round writing tip, with the yellow icing and write the the Year of the Monkey Chinese character, 猴, or whatever you’d like to write! Let icing dry completely before serving

Royal Icing Recipe

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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