For the recent Cake Night Cookie Fight event, I made a "ReplicaSet" of pressed cookies decorated with the Kubernetes wheel. While I only placed 2nd thanks to Rin's amazing prowess with cake, they were super-tasty and I figured folks would want the recipe anyway.
The first step is to make yourself a cookie press. I made a design using TinkerCAD and 3D printed it the day before. The mold comes in two pieces, you superglue the handle to the press. And then you need to spray the inside of the mold with food grade silicone spray (or it will not release your pressed cookies) and leave it overnight to dry.
After that, you can make a fairly simple shortbread and press it into the molds. To make it more exciting -- and to go better with bourbon -- I made a garam masala seasoned shortbread.
garam masala shortbread
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 2 1/4 cups AP flour
- 2 to 6 tsp cold water
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 3 tsp milk
- 2 Tbs, or more, powdered sugar
- 3 drops liquid blue food coloring
First, two hours before making the cookies, take the butter out of the fridge so that it can soften completely.
Cut the butter into chunks, and cream it in a mixer on low, or with a spatula and a lot of elbow grease. When completely smooshed, add the brown sugar. Cream until the sugar completely dissolves into the butter.
Sift the flour and the garam masala together, and then add to the butter, one third at a time, stopping when no more dry flour is visible. Now, judge how crumbly it is; it should be somewhat crumbly, but easily hold together if you pinch a small amount of it. If it's doing fairly well, add just 2 tsp water and mix it one last time. If it seems dry and won't hold, add more water, all the way up to 2 Tbs, if required. You don't want it sticky though, you want it to just barely hold together.
Cover and place in the fridge for 25 to 45 minutes. Do not press it into a ball or anything; you want a bowl full of loose crumbles of dough. You also do not want to leave it overnight; if you need to leave it for more than 45min, then you'll want to let it warm on the counter for a bit before using.
While it's in there, put the white sugar and the second 1.5 tsp of garam masala into a small flat bowl and mix them together. Then, make the icing by putting the milk in a small bowl, and mixing in enough sifted powdered sugar until it has a thick, gluey texture ... probably around 2Tbs. Add the 3 drops of food coloring and mix until fully blended. Finally, put a little flour in another small flat bowl for coating the cookie press.
Turn the oven on to 350F to heat, and arrange the oven racks so that you can put two cookie sheets in.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and start pressing cookies. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone. Flour the cookie press. Take around 1.5 Tbs of dough out of the bowl and roll it into a ball; it should be between 1" and 1.25" in diameter. Drop the ball into the granulated sugar mixture, and flatten it into a small disk, turning it so that it's coated on all sides.
Place the small disk of dough on the corner of the cookie sheet, and press the cookie press down on it. Carefully lift it off, starting from one side, and be prepared to pry the cookie out gently if required. Repeat this until the cookie sheet is full; this will take a fair while.
When one cookie sheet is full, put it in the oven and set a timer for 6 minutes. Start on the second cookie sheet.
After it's been baking for 6 minutes, turn the sheet around for even cooking. Set a timer for 4 more minutes. After that time, check the cookies. If they are showing a thin rim of dark brown on the bottom edges, they're done, take them out. Otherwise bake them for 1-3 minutes longer, until they do.
Place cookies on a rack to cool. Put the 2nd sheet of cookies in the oven, and repeat.
After 20 minutes or so, when all cookies are cool, paint the raised design with the blue icing using a small paintbrush. The icing will take another 15 minutes to dry. Serve, or put in a sealed container and store at room temperature. Makes around 32 cookies.