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Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies

I love Michelle Obama. I mean, have we ever had such a deeply cool first lady? Besides her grace, her smarts and her parenting skills, who else could dress, as she did on Inauguration Day, in a color I heard referred to as ‘lemongrass’ and look that good? If I wore that color they’d be testing me for hepatitis.

I read that she likes shortbread cookies so I decided to make some for her for Valentine’s Day. Well, okay, she may not actually eat them, unless she happens to show up for tea (it could happen!), but I made them in her honor, and their image will be sprayed across the blogosphere so maybe she’ll at least get the vibe.

I checked out her personal recipe for shortbread cookies and found it interesting but not something I would ever make. This is because a) I’m too crabby to assemble nine ingredients for a shortbread cookie and b) some of the ingredients are on my family’s list of foods to avoid. (My children are highly suspicious of lemon zest.)

So I opted to make a simpler version, with options for making it more complex, i.e. adding a little icing, maybe a few scenic sprinkles. I’m usually too crabby for such extras, but since it’s for Michelle:

Cookies For M.O.

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Icing (optional):

1 egg white
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they’re well blended.  Mix in the vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and the salt. Add the flour to the butter/sugar stuff and mix until incorporated.

4. Roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper, to about ½-inch thickness. Stick it in the fridge for a half an hour, then cut it into shapes. Bake them on an ungreased baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until they’re just turning golden. Let them cool for five minutes on the baking sheet, then gently move them to a rack to cool completely.

5. If you want to ice them, mix together the egg white and the sugar (and a drop of food coloring if you want). Add sprinkles if you like, and then set the cookies aside until the icing sets, about twenty to thirty minutes.

Now wait and see if Michelle drops by for tea. If she does not, eat the cookies yourself.

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2 Responses to “Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies”

  1. suzanne Says:

    Sprinkles? Really? You ARE a crabby cook.

  2. Reisa Stone Says:

    Dear Jessica:

    I love the gonzo style of your cooking blog. I was thrilled to find you cook for the Obamas, whether they ever show up to eat or not 😀

    I wrote a letter to the Prez on my blog in the voice of my cookbook narrator, a malcontent Ukrainian immigrant named Baba (grandmother). Baba gives him heck for ordering Mrs. Lincoln’s apple cake instead of her special Ukrainian recipe.If you are at all interested, click the sidebar link labeled “Dear President.”

    Would it be okay if I posted a link to your blog? I feel a little shy asking, because you are also one of my favorite singers. I promise not to gush.

    All my best,
    Reisa Stone

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