Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies


Today, the Nation welcomed its 44th President.  Like most, I had to watch the Inauguration from a distance.  But since I could not make the trip to Washington, I decided to see how I might otherwise get a taste of this historic event.

In looking for ideas, I read that the Ritz-Carlton Hotels had decided to forgo putting mints on its guests’ pillows.  In place of the mints, the Ritz-Carlton catered to its Inauguration visitors by serving them the First Lady’s Shortbread Cookies.  These cookies, I decided, were just the taste I was looking for.  And they really are wonderful!

I needed to halve the recipe to fit my baking pan.  I also used less of the orange peel because I find orange zest to be overpowering.  Those were my only changes to the original recipe.

Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon Amaretto (almond liqueur)
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 egg white, beaten
Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)



1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 12 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar.  Beat in the egg yolk until the mixture is smooth.  Beat in the Amaretto, lemon zest, and orange zest.

3.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt.  Working in batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, until well combined.  Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as possible.  Brush the top of the dough with the egg white, then sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of sugar.

4.  Bake for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, turn the oven off and allow the cookies to sit in the oven, with oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

5.  Cut and serve!



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