This winter I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to Panera Bread. One recently opened in our town and I find myself there on a regular basis to have lunch with my children. One of my favorite orders is the garden vegetable pesto soup, tea, and a butter shortbread cookie for dessert.
The cookies are a treat I only let myself order only once in a while. They are SO good, but they are so buttery and rich, I am confident they do not mean good news for my waistline come spring.
In the interest of my wallet, however, last month I came to realize that my Panera visits need to become less frequent. They only way I could imagine doing this was by learning how to make a few of our favorites at home.
First up was the soup. It took a couple of versions, but I finally figured out a recipe we love and I’ve made it twice now. Then it was time to work on the cookies.
I am not a cookie decorating master, but I can certainly handle making a simple glazed shortbread. To come up with a recipe we loved I started with a thick, rich shortbread dough. Instead of pressing it into a pan to make shortbread bars, I rolled out the dough and used a cookie cutter to make giant hearts. They baked in a mild oven until they were solid and just golden around the edges, then they cooled for the afternoon.
Panera doesn’t use a thick icing on their cookies, but it is sweet and definitely covers the whole surface of the treat. I decided to make a thin colorful glaze that would harden on top of the cookie and cover it with lots of red sugar for Valentine’s Day. It is just the right amount of sweet without being too cloying. I preferred it to a super thick frosting and appreciated that it was so easy to decorate.
Now that I have this simple meal done, I feel okay about cutting down on my Panera visits. Until the spring cookie designs come out, that is!
For the Glaze:
To Make the Cookie Dough:
To Bake the Cookies:
For the Glaze and Decorating: