Orange Shortbread Cookies

My sister recently bought me two very cute cookie cutters, one in the shape of an alligator and one in the shape of a snake. Today I set out with the goal of making a batch of cookies for the Venom One Unit here in Miami. If you don’t know who these people are, let me tell you. They are the bravest and nicest bunch that you’ll ever meet. They belong to the firefighter’s department but their specialty is dealing with envenomations. So, let’s say you somehow get struck by a rattlesnake while prancing around the woods, you’ll call emergency services who will send the antivenom with one of the members of Venom One. They’ll go anywhere in the country to save your life.

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some of them through the wildlife center where my sister works and I’ve also adopted two snakes from one of them. No worries, nonvenemous.

So I set out to make them these cookies. Here we go.

Mix the sugar and butter. Add the extract and orange zest.

Add the salt and the flour and stir well.

And now the fun part, mold to your heart’s delight!

Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle.  Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

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