by Kate Smailer

over 2 years ago

jjones's Testing Notes:

Kate Smailer's shortbread cookies hit all the right notes for a delicious buttery and chocolatey holiday treat. This firm, sweet dough is rolled out and shaped with the cutter of your choice, then dipped into rich bittersweet chocolate. It's such a simple combination but so satisfying.

I am a piano teacher by profession and over the many years I have been teaching and giving
studio recitals and receptions I have tried many cookie recipes. Out of the maybe 100 I have
tried this has always been the favorite of my students, young and old! If fact a few years ago
I decided not to make them as wanted to try something new. There were many unhappy "kids" all asking where the note cookes were! So now I make these very simple and
delicious cookies for every recital reception I host. You can use any cookie cutter shape
you like but for my recitals, especially the Christmas program, I always
use an 8th note cooke cutter and a holly leaf cookie cutter, hence the name.
Try them. I know you will love them!

Makes 38-42 cookies depending on cookie cutter used

  • 3/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, I prefer Valrhona
  1. Cream the room temperature butter and confectioner's powdered sugar together until light.
  2. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Sift flour and salt together and add to the creamed mixture on low speed blending thoroughly.
  4. Gather dough and form into a ball. Divide ball into 2 pieces and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate from 2 - 3 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  6. Roll dough on lightly floured surface. You will need to add a bit of flour to surface and the rolling pin so the dough does not stick. I roll the dough to a thickness slightly more than 1/8th inch thick and slightly less than 1/4 inch thick, 3/16th inch. Cut out cookies with the 8th note cutter and the holly leaf cutter placing them on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. You can reroll any remaining dough. When done cutting out cookies you will have 4 trays of cookies. As each tray becomes filled place in the refrigerator to chill for about 1/2 hour.
  7. While cookies are chilling place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Melt until silky smooth. Remove from heat and pour chocolate into a small glass bowl that you will use later to dip the cookies.
  8. Bake cookies for about 12 - 16 minutes. Be sure to turn the trays if your oven does not bake evenly. The baking time all depends on your oven. The cookies should just be getting a golden blush around the edges and starting to color lightly in the body. You should not brown at all.
  9. Remove cookies from oven and place on wire rack to cool. When cool remove from tray and place on the wire racks.
  10. Cover 4 more cookie trays with parchment paper. Dip cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture. For the 8th note cookies I dip just the note head so the cookie resembles a musical 8th note. For the holly leaves I dip them lengthwise coating only one half with chocolate to emphasize the leaf vein. Place the dipped cookies on the parchment lines trays.
  11. Refrigerate the dipped cookies so the chocolate sets. If you are using immediately arrange cookies on large platter. I always place the holly cookies in the center and circle them with all the notes. If you are not using the cookies right away be sure to cover them once set with plastic wrap so the chocolate does not sweat. Cookies can keep refrigerated for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Info:


  • 86 calories
  • 3g total fat
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 1mg cholesterol
  • 32mg sodium
  • 15g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 7g sugar)
  • 1g protein
1 Comments Add a Comment
  • Img_3003

    Kate Smailer says: I always leave a few cookies plain, not dipped in chocolate for those who do not like chocolate. I sprinkle a little bit of granulated sugar on these cookies before baking,

    over 2 years ago Reply to this »

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