Traditional shortbread for use in Ukrainian wooden molds. These lovely molds are hand-carved by Vladimir Markar'yan in Poltava, Ukraine. They are available on Etsy.
Ukrainian St. Nicholas Shortbread
1½ cups butter or regular margarine
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3½-4 cups all-purpose flour
Cream butter, sugar, and almond extract in large bowl on low speed. Stir in 1½ cups of flour, ½ cup at a time. Mix well. Beat until light and fluffy, continuing to add flour (another 1½-2 cups) until dough is solid enough to knead. Transfer to well-floured work surface (use flour not yet added to dough). Shape dough into ball, refrigerate if not baking immediately.
Thoroughly flour mold; knock off excess flour. Handle dough with floured hands. Take a piece of dough (about 1/3 of a cup) and work into mold from the bottom up. Smooth and remove excess with a straight edge narrow spatula or knife. Bang one end of the the mold sharply on the ungreased cookie sheet where you want the cookie to be. It will drop out nicely—the weight of the cookie will pull the last part out. Thoroughly flour mold again before shaping each succeeding cookie.
Bake 350° 15 - 20 miniutes or until edges are slightly brown and the middle of cookie is firm to the touch. Cool on wire rack. Baking time depends on size and thickness of cookie. Makes 10-11 molded cookies.
Ukrainian mold, available from Etsy
|Cookies made in Ukrainian St Nicholas molds by Vladimir Markar'yan|