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Carla Hall shares her simple, colorful cookie recipe

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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.

For more recipe ideas from Carla Hall, visit https://www.carlahall.com/.

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