ShortBREAD cookies (20 "slices")

I’ve got nothing on Diamonds for Dessert when it comes to making adorably shaped cookies, but I thought I’d give making some fun shapes a try when I made a PB & J themed dessert: Peanut Butter Pots de Crème with red wine suicide.

I use kinako (roasted soy flour) to tint and flavor some of the cookie dough for the “crust.” It has a nutty, roasted flavor that gives these cookies a toasty bread-like flavor. If you can’t find it, or can’t be troubled to, substitute cocoa powder. It’s a little darker, but gets the job done in its own way.

In either case, I don’t think anyone will ask for their crust to be trimmed away.

vanilla toast shortbread cookies and peanut butter custard

ShortBREAD Cookies
6 1/2 ounces sugar
13 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
18 ounces flour, sifted
1/2 ounce kinako or 1/4 ounce cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting

To make the toast shaped cookies, you’ll need some sort of mold to create square edges for the toast. I used a box of brown sugar, cut in half longways and lined with plastic wrap. Scrounge around your kitchen, you may have all sorts of suitable containers. The important part is for it to be long and narrow and with squared edges.

With a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar, butter, vanilla bean scrapings, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Just for a minute or so, none of that light and fluffy business. With the mixer running on low speed, add in the flour a little at a time.

When the flour has fully incorporated, remove roughly one quarter of the dough. You don’t need to measure, just eyeball it. Knead this small portion together with the kinako or cocoa to tint it a darker shade. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until needed.

Make the plain dough into a loaf of "bread."

I’ll be honest. It almost doesn’t matter how you make your “loaf.” The dough is very much like Play-Doh, so use your imagination and have fun trying to create a long loaf of cookie dough. Here is how I did it:

Take half of the remaining plain dough and knead lightly until smooth and pliable. Roll it into a cylinder and then place it into whatever sort of mold you are using. Use your fingers to pack it into the container, ensuring the dough is forced into every corner and patting it so that it is flat on the top.

Next, take the remaining plain dough, kneading and rolling likewise. Place this cylinder of dough atop the block of dough in the mold. Cup the dough with your fingers and press down gently. The goal is to both meld it to the block of dough below, but also to create the “crown” for the loaf of bread. The rounded top of the dough cylinder should slightly overhang the sides of the mold. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least four hours or quite firm all the way through.

To finish the “loaf,” take out the kinako or cocoa tinted dough and roll it out, using a little extra kinako or cocoa instead of flour for dusting the counter. Aim to make it into a rectangle about a 1/4” thick and large enough to completely wrap around the loaf of bread.

Take the cookie loaf from the fridge and remove it from the mold, peeling away and discarding the plastic wrap. Moisten it all over with a little water; you can use your fingers or a pastry brush. Place it in the center of the rolled-out dough and wrap it like a package. Use your fingers to smooth the dark dough down against the surface of the “loaf” to create a crust. Make sure to smooth the dough with your fingers to ensure there are no air bubbles between the loaf and crust.

Gently wrap this in plastic and refrigerate thirty minutes or more, until the outer layer of dough has set.

Preheat the oven to 350°

Remove the cookie loaf from the fridge, discard the plastic, and use a chef’s knife to cut the dough into 1/4” thick cookies. Arrange the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies have just set, and have just begun to brown.

Cool and serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.


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Any questions?

Mar 24, 2012 ·  9:15 PM


These are so precious! I’m inspired. You amaze me!

 · Kaitlin ·

Mar 25, 2012 ·  1:17 AM

@Kaitlin, well look who’s trolling through the archives! Thanks, girlie. xoxo


Jul 07, 2013 ·  3:48 PM

I used this recipe to make Starshaped cookies with colored glazes to make patriotic Independence Day cookies! They were adorable! This recipe was excellent! I put the zest of 2 lemons in it, and it was perfect. It held its shape extremely well, too! I froze half of them to see if it held shape any better, and to my pleasant surprise it made no difference between frozen and fresh-to-the-oven. I’ve been abusing your 1,2,3 Dough – I noticed this is extremely similar in ratios. Thanks again, Stella!

 · Kenny · 

Jul 10, 2013 ·  7:00 PM

Hi Kenny! Yup, this recipe’s based on the 123, but since the method turns out so different I thought I’d give it its own page. So happy to hear your stars turned out how you were hoping, yay. Thanks for reporting back with your success story, happy baking!


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