I've made this recipe many times already, each time giving the cookies a different look. The first time I made the cookies, I followed the recipe exactly and made even rectangles with rows of holes made by a fork, which was definitely the quickest and simplest method. Last time I made them, I rolled the dough out very thinly so that I could use my Williams-Sonoma animal cracker cookie cutters.
This time, I wanted yet another change. From the colors of the cookies, you can sort of tell that I was inspired by those Sweetheart Conversation Hearts that are so popular on V-Day. I thought it'd be cute to have colorful heart cookies, so I mixed food coloring into the dough and cut my cookies out with my trusty heart cookie cutter. The cookies came out of the oven cute and puffy, a wonderful post-Valentine's Day delight.
Sweetheart Shortbreadadapted from Nick Malgieri and David Joachim's Perfect Light Desserts
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup fat free milk
Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour half of the dry mix into your butter/sugar/egg mixture and combine. Mix in the milk and then add in the remaining half of the dry ingredients.
For colored hearts, divide the dough into five equal pieces. Take one piece of dough, add two drops of food coloring, and knead the dye into the dough. Repeat with the other dough pieces with different food colorings. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and chill them for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Take the dough out of the fridge. Sandwich one piece of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface (or place on a flat, floured surface). Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter. Place cut-outs on parchment lined cookie sheets. Repeat with the other doughs.
Bake each sheet for 15 minutes. Then cover each sheet with a piece of aluminum foil (to preserve the colors) and bake for 10 more minutes. Let cool on tray. If the cookies still aren't crunchy after cooled, place back in the oven, still covered by the foil, and bake for 5-10 more minutes and then let cool again. Feel free to skip the 2nd baking step if you'd prefer softer cookies.
[If you want flatter cookies (less baking time is needed for flatter cookies), either poke each cookie with a fork so that the cookies are covered with holes, or roll the dough thinner, 1/16 inch thick. Then, bake each sheet for 15 minutes and let cool. If still not crunchy, replace in the oven for 5-10 more minutes, covered in foil.]
Makes approximately 50 large cookies or 75 small cookies.