Brown Butter Citrus Shortbread Cookies frosted with White and Dark Chocolate Fondants.
These are, without a doubt, the BEST tasting decorated cut-out cookies I’ve ever eaten. Brown butter citrus shortbread is delicious all on it’s own – buttery, not overly sweet, and laced with the subtle flavors of orange, lemon, and lime. Dark and white chocolate fondants are easy to work with, gorgeously glossy, and a delicious compliment to the brown butter citrus flavor of the cookies.
Say goodbye to mostly flavorless cut-out decorated cookies.
For the most part, when you see a frosted, decorated cut-out cookie, you understand that its main purpose is to look pretty, not taste great. And, you think, That’s fine. This cookie knows what it’s about – looking pretty, not tasting great. You do not think, Yum! That’s going to be delicious.
At least I don’t. Or, should I say didn’t. Past tense. Because from now on every decorated cut-out cookie coming out of my kitchen is gong to be these. These are so good I’m surprised there were enough left over for pictures.
Also important – if you take care to chill the dough, these cookies hold their shape perfectly while baking and can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days. I feel like this is important with cookies that require decoration. You can bake them one day and decorate them on another.
Let’s talk fondant.
The white and dark chocolate fondant in this recipe is based on this recipe for Black and White Cookies. It’s chocolatey and delicious, and fantastic to work with because you can easily control how thick or runny the consistency is. I like to pipe an outline around the outside of the cookies using fondant that’s thick enough to hold its shape. Then, I simply add a few teaspoons of hot water to the fondant to thin it out, piping it inside the lines so that it runs together and covers the cookie completely. Let the fondant set up, then pipe additional decoration on to the cookies with fondant that’s on the thick side.
Used in this Recipe:
- 30 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- Approximately 1 & 1/2 to 2 tbsp (total) zest from 1 orange, 1 large lemon, and 2 limes
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
FOR THE CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA FONDANTS:
- 2 oz good quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 2 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- ¾ cup water
- 7½ cups powdered sugar
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Put 16 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan and set it over medium-low heat. Cook until the milk solids have fallen to the bottom of the pan and turned a rich golden brown, 7-10 minutes. As the milk solids begin to brown, watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Pour the butter into a bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let solidify.
- Add the browned butter, the remaining 14 tablespoons of butter, powdered sugar, and zest to the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on low just to combine, then beat on medium-high until fluffy and the consistency of frosting. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat on medium-high for 1 minute more.
- Stir the flour and salt together and add it to the bowl of the mixer. Beat on low just until the dough comes together.
- Stretch a piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Place half the dough in the center, shape it into a disk that’s approximately 8-inches in diameter, and wrap tightly. Repeat with the second half of dough. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.
- Set the dough out on the counter and let stand until soft enough to roll out, but still cold to the touch.
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper that’s approximately 13×18 inches (the size of a half-sheet pan) out on the counter top and lightly dust it with flour. Set the dough in the center of the paper and dust the surface with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s approximately 1/4-inch thick. To keep the dough from sticking, periodically, dust the surface with flour, lay another sheet of parchment paper over the top, and flip the whole thing over. Peel off the top sheet of paper, dust with more flour and continue rolling. Alternatively, run a large flat metal spatula under the dough every once in a while to keep the bottom from sticking.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, laying the cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Cover the cookies with plastic wrap and put the sheet in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back half way through cooking to ensure even baking. The cookies are done when they are just beginning to brown around the edges.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 4 minutes, then use a spatula to remove to a wire rack and let cool completely before decorating.
MAKE THE FONDANTS AND DECORATE THE COOKIES:
- Put the chopped dark chocolate in one medium size bowl and the chopped white chocolate in another.
- Add the corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat just until the mixture boils. Remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating with a wire whisk to combine after each cup is added. Add the vanilla and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour half the syrup over the dark chocolate and the other half over the white chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then stir the chocolate fondant until smooth. If the chocolate won’t completely melt, put the bowl in the microwave at half power for 20-30 seconds. *This is a good consistency for outlining designs and adding piped decoration.
- Thin the fondants by adding hot water, one teaspoon at a time to the fondants until they reach the desired consistancy.
- After decorating the cookies, let them sit until the fondants have hardened. Then store the cookies in an airtight container, layers separated with parchment paper, for up to 1 week.
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