Sunday was my first day back at Trinity after winter break and even though I’ve been procrastinating my thesis for far too long, I figured another day of putting it off couldn’t really hurt. Is there really a better way to procrastinate than to bake cookies? This was the first night in months where all of my roommates were in the same room at one time and cookies seemed like the perfect way to keep people around- food does bring people together, after all.
I think that homemade funfetti desserts are definitely underrated. Of course the boxed kind are always popular when you’re a kid, but I never realized how easy it is to make almost anything funfetti just by adding LOTS of sprinkles!! The other day I was reading Molly Yeh’s blog about funfetti desserts where I learned that the best way to achieve that delicious, chemical-infused, artificial funfetti flavor that every nine year old loves is by using imitation vanilla. Ina Garten, who always insists on using GOOD vanilla, would not be pleased. (If you’re wondering what she means by GOOD vanilla, this is the brand she uses). Although I wanted the perfect funfetti dessert, Ina (and my mother!) taught me well so all I had in the cabinet was organic pure vanilla extract. I think it still worked, even though nine-year-old me might’ve been a little disappointed in the lacking artificial flavor.
Since my family went through a long period where we followed a vegan diet, and my sister still follows a strict vegan diet, we still use certain dairy-free products as staple ingredients. They usually work totally fine as substitutes, but certain things that really rely on a heavy dairy flavor, like shortbread, just never turn out the same. When I cook for myself at school, I use real butter made from real cream and put these sticks to use. The shortbread was super easy to make and SO fun! BONUS: there’s no eggs in it so you can actually eat the raw dough (which all of my roommates did before I cut them off).
Below is the recipe for my funfetti shortbread cookies. A few things to keep in mind: sift the flour and powdered sugar into your bowl after measuring them out. Why? You’ll avoid lumps in the dough and all of the ingredients will incorporate easier. Use room temperature butter for the same reason- it will be much easier to mix and spread evenly throughout the dough! I cheated a bit and microwaved it to quicken the process. I’m not exactly sure why this is bad to do, but I can do some research and perhaps that can be a blog post for another day…
Recipe Adapted from Epicurous
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup sprinkles
Sift all dry ingredients into a bowl together.
Whip the butter and vanilla in a separate bowl, using an electric mixer or fork. Using a spatula, slowly fold the dry ingredients into the butter and vanilla. Fold in sprinkles. Once all of the ingredients have been mixed together, form a ball of dough and place in on a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a long long, somewhere between 12” and 18” and about 1.5” in height.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. Take the dough out and slice into about ¼”-1/2” slices. Keep in mind that they will spread out in the oven, so don’t cut them too thin. They will probably look larger on the tray than they will actually end up once they have baked. Place cookies onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges have browned.
Let the cookies cool before eating, but don’t wait too long because they’re really, really REALLY good…according to my roommates, of course 🙂