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Saffron Shortbread Cookies

From Italian Cooking and Living, June/July 2001

Adapted from Church Lounge's summer 2000 menu, by Rob Miketa. At Church Lounge, these cookies are served with a Cabernet-mixed berry soup and coconut sorbet.

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 7 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra
  • 1 cup superfine sugar

Dissolve the saffron threads in 11/2 tablespoons hot water; let sit 5 minutes. Cream together the butter and confectioner's sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment, about 5 minutes; scrape the vanilla bean into the butter mixture, and add the vanilla extract. Beat 1 minute; add the saffron water, almonds, and flour. Do not overmix; once ingredients come together, stop mixing. Remove from bowl and pat into a flat disk; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk of dough to a thickness of 1/2". Cut into 11/2" disks with a round cookie cutter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1/2" apart. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly; dredge in the superfine sugar to coat lightly on both sides, and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 48 11/2" disk

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The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana