If you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s not only easy and delicious but also beautiful, Carla Hall’s got you covered.
With stay-at-home orders still in place in some parts of the United States, it’s a perfect time to practice your baking skills.
Fans of Hall know that the Top Chef fan favorite and former co-host of The Chew is always baking up something great, and now she’s revealing how to turn your dessert into a work of art—literally.
Hall’s “Cookie Art” takes a classic shortbread cookie recipe and uses it to create an edible blank canvas which allows you to “paint” with multicolored frosting to turn your creation into a masterpiece.
Carla Hall’s Cookie Art
Vanilla shortbread “canvas”
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (slightly softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened butter and sugar. With the mixer on medium cream the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until combined.
Form the dough into a square and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out to an 8x8” square, about ½” thick.
Use a bench scraper or an off-set spatula to shape the dough into a neat square. Carefully move the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool completely on a rack before “painting” with frosting.
Vanilla frosting “paint”
2 sticks chilled, unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
3 cups confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons maple extract
Your choice of food coloring
Add butter, salt, extract and heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer until combined. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar a tablespoon at a time as it incorporates.
Separate your frosting into multiple bowls. Add food coloring to all but one of the bowls.
Use your plain white frosting as your base on the shortbread “canvas.”
Spoon colored frostings into pastry bags. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a zip-top bag with the corner clipped off.
“Paint” using the colored frosting.