03 March 2014

Shamrock Cookies

Top o' the mornin' to ya!  Actually, it's 7:25 in the evening, but the Irish vibe is reverberating throughout every red hair on my head.  It's only two weeks until St. Patrick's Day, always a fabulous corn beef filled festivus in our household, but this year it's an especially momentous occasion.  So fabulous and exciting that I am giving up on trying to contain my enthusiasm, opting instead to bake out all my energy.  We've had cornbread (not so Irish), bagels, soda bread and of course these darling little cookies.  So darn cute and pop-able, you'd be unlucky to pass the holiday by without a batch.

So why is this St. Patrick's so important?  I'm so delighted you asked!  On this day the hubs receives notice whether he has matched into a residency program.  As in, "yes Mr. Brand-New-Doctor, we would love to have your big brain working for us"...a day only surpassed by that Friday on which we find out the city to which he has matched.  It's a ridiculously big deal where they walk across the stage to a personalized picture slideshow and theme song to be are given an envelope containing the name of the lucky program.  You med people out there know what I'm talking about...it's the day that is more important than graduation.  So yeah, we're super excited this year for Match March.  Best March ever!

Please note the picture above, and that I used blue and yellow food coloring since I was out of green.  All those important kindergarten lessons. 

This is another cookie from the fabulous Cooky Book.  I was first drawn to them because of how much their picture resembled Spritz, one of my all-time favorites that I unfortunately cannot make as I do not have a cookie press in Ohio.  I could go buy one, but knowing I have a perfectly functioning press back in storage at my mom's Washington household prevents me from spending the unnecessary moolah (med student hubs = single income = pinching pennies).

The original Shamrock Cookie recipe calls for peppermint extract, which always seemed weird for a St. Patty's Day recipe.  Maybe I missed some memo.  So instead I substitute almond extract, causing them taste even more like Spritz and me eat them at an astonishing pace.  The shamrocks are tiny, little individual bites of sweetness with a uniquely dense consistency that can only be achieved by using powdered sugar as your sweetener.  They're firm but not crunchy, dry but not crumbly.  Rather they reside somewhere in the middle as a wonderful cookie that is great dipped in earl grey tea or milk.

If only pots of gold contained these little cookies.  That'd pretty much be the best treasure ever.

Almond Shamrock Cookies (about 5-6 dozen teeny cookies)

  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 /4 c flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp green food coloring
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat (stoneware is perfect, too).  In a medium bowl, combine the shortening, powdered sugar, egg white and almond extract.  Mix together with a spoon until very smooth.  Add the flour, salt and food coloring and mix well until the color is even throughout the batter.  

Use a 1/4 teaspoon to scoop little heaping spoonfuls of batter into your hand.  Roll each into a little ball and set on the prepared cookie sheet.  Place three* small balls together to form a shamrock, then roll a small stem and place on the bottom of the cookie.  Gently press each ball with your fingertip to flatten and connect.  Garnish with decorators sugar or green sprinkles.  Bake until the cookies are set and just starting to brown at the tip of the shamrock stem, about 5 minutes depending on the size of your cookies and heat of your oven.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Store in an air-tight container for as long as possible (or 3 weeks).  

*I always like to throw one four-leaf clover in there....just for luck!

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