The Drinkware Hack For Super Fancy Shortbread Cookies

In the vast universe of cookie recipes, you can always lean on a good shortbread cookie. Nobody's ever going to turn one down, and even though they're simple in flavor, they're ideal served with a pot of tea or a hot cocoa. Most of all, shortbread cookies are easy to make, and you can turn out a couple of dozen in just a half an hour or so. It's nice to make your cookies look fancy, too, and while you can dress them up or down with frosting and sprinkles, all you need to jazz up a shortbread cookie is a drinking glass with a pattern stamped into the bottom.

Shortbread cookies have a dense dough that keeps its shape even after baking, which makes them ideal for creating patterns and shapes. Cookie cutters, for instance, are most commonly used with sugar and shortbread cookie dough. Because it's so impressionable, this type of cookie dough can take on almost any pattern you press into it. Many vintage and crystal cocktail glasses have intricate starburst shapes on the bottom that also happen to be the perfect size for cookies. Put two and two together and you'll get a plate of gorgeous confections in no time.

Shortbread cookies are perfect for patterns

Shortbread cookies are made with a few very simple ingredients: Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, and sometimes (but not always) leavener. There are many variations, but the main base of the dough is always butter and there's very little moisture, baking soda, or baking powder, which means the dough doesn't do a lot of rising and will hold its shape in the oven. This is why most cookies made for decorating are made with some type of sugar or shortbread cookie base, because you need a smooth, flat surface for icing.

The elegance of shortbread cookies, however, lies in their simplicity, and you don't often see them iced. Instead, they're often pressed into specialized shortbread pans that have intricate designs, or they're pressed into shapes with store-bought cookie presses. You don't need any special equipment for making your own shortbread cookies, however, as long as you have a drinking glass that has a pattern carved into the base. Many vintage and replica cocktail glasses have fancy shapes, all you need to do is press the base of a patterned glass into a ball of shortbread dough and voila: You get a perfectly patterned cookie.

Shop the thrift store for vintage glasses

Pressing patterns into cookies with glassware is easy, and with a little practice, you can make them look perfect. The goal is to make the ball of cookie dough the right size so that when you press down on it with your glass it flattens out to the same diameter. That way the pattern will encompass the entire top of the cookie. It takes a little tinkering to get it right, but in the meantime, if you use too much dough you can still make beautiful patterned cookies with your glass, you'll just create a border around the pattern when the extra dough is squished out around the edge.

The best glasses are vintage "rocks" cocktail glasses, which are short and have heavy glass bases. If you don't have one in your house, it's a good excuse to do a little thrift store or vintage shopping because they're easy to find secondhand. You only need one, so there's no need to spend money on a brand-new set of glasses. You can also collect a couple of different patterns to make cookies with different shapes. Once you're done pressing cookies, wash your vintage glass off and use it to make yourself a little holiday cocktail while they bake — not a lot of other kitchen gadgets can do that!