Bake these hot butter rum shortbread cookies from Sister Pie’s Lisa Ludwinski of Detroit

Before Lisa Ludwinski opened Sister Pieof a traditional Detroit bakery in 2015, shortbread wasn’t really on her radar. She didn’t quite get the hype around simple butter cookies—but that quickly changed when she started experimenting with ways to liven up the classic cookie.

“There is really a lot you can do once you have a basic shortbread recipe, so you should have a good recipe in your repertoire,” says Ludwinski. It turns out that shortbread is a great “blanket” to add all sorts of flavorings, from herbs to citrus to nuts and spices to alcohols and liqueurs.

By Ludwinski Hot buttery cocktailThe mouthwatering shortbread has proven to be especially popular at her bakery. Of course, delicious confectionery requires butter as well as classic baking spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A bold or spiced amount of rum will add depth. A thin layer of rum-infused ice covers each one.

“They are definitely boozy; you really taste the rum in the ice, but then the clove spice is the second strongest flavor for me,” says Ludwinski. “It was just a cookie that tasted very warm. It feels like you’re sitting by the fire reading a story and looking at the wrapped presents or something.”

In the years since they debuted at Sister Pie, these spirited shortbreads have become one of Ludwinski’s signatures, even appearing in her book, Sister Pie: Recipes and Story of a Bakery with a Big Heart in Detroit.

“People will be very upset if we don’t bring them back on holiday,” said Ludwinski, who now considers herself the “shortbread queen”.

Here’s Ludwinski’s tip for creating the perfect delicious butter cookie.

Choose your butter carefully

Like any shortbread, much of the flavor in Ludwinski’s cookies comes from butter, so it’s extremely important to use high-quality butter. She prefers unsalted European butter, like the Irish Kerrygold, which has a higher fat content.

“Go for a butter that you really enjoy eating because that flavor will pass through a lot in a cookie as simple as a shortbread,” she says. “It’s really just flour, butter, sugar, salt and then spices. I think that’s the main reason why people like our shortbread so much, because they’re actually tasting that delicious butter. ”

Be careful with over kneading the dough

One of the most important things to remember when making shortbread is not to over mix when it’s time to shape into a log for slicing. Kneading the dough too thoroughly can give the dough a chewy texture rather than creating the desired crispy shortbread effect.

“A lot of times what I would do is make a loose log and then I would put it in the plastic wrap and keep rolling it in the plastic wrap until it really turns into a smooth log that I can cut out afterwards. ,” said Ludwinski.

While you’ll want the cake to cool before it starts to freeze, Ludwinski says the process is exponentially easier to freeze slightly warm — plus, it’ll make sure to freeze dry with light. pretty. “If you make ice the day before and keep it in the fridge, heat it up with a double boiler,” she says. “You can then dip the top of the cookies in, or you can take a spatula and spread it across — that’s how they get really shiny and smooth on top.”

Shortbreads have a surprisingly impressive shelf life for a cookie, lasting up to a week without going stale — that’s if you can’t eat them for long.

But if you want to make your shortbread first and make sure it tastes fresh out of the oven for your holiday guests, Ludwinski recommends tossing a chunk of dough in the fridge a few days before you leave. plan to bake them or put them in the freezer for a few days. of last week.

“It’s best to slice them when they’ve rested really comfortably in the fridge,” she says. “That way, the spice flavor will really soak into the dough.”

Generate 36 cookies


Shortbread dough

  • 2.25 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • .5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • .5 teaspoons of nutmeg
  • .25 teaspoons Ground cloves
  • .5 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • .75 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark or spiced rum
  • .5 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


  • 0.75 cups Powdered sugar, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons dark or spiced rum
  • 2 tablespoons Heavy Cream, plus more if needed, at room temperature
  • .25 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • dash


For cookie dough

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a stirrer and beat the cream on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth and no butter flakes visible.
  3. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the rum and vanilla, mixing until well blended. Add all of the flour mixture at once and mix on low speed until completely combined. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a cylindrical log about 1.5 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes. You can mix and shape the dough up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 hour before rolling it out. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before continuing with the recipe.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two parchment paper baking sheets.
  5. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, open the package and place on a cutting board.
  6. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut cookies about a quarter inch thick. Carefully transfer them to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden.
  8. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool.

For ice

  1. While the cookies are cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, coconut oil, rum, cream, salt, and cloves until smooth. The texture will remind you of Elmer’s Glue. Yum!
  2. If the cream seems a bit dry, whip it a little thicker. If it feels a bit wet, add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. When the cake has cooled completely, use a knife or small slotted spoon to spread a very thin, even layer of icing all over the top of the cookie. It must be carefully smoothed, not soft. Place the cake back on the baking sheet to give it a chance to freeze before serving. Store ice cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

Reprinted with permission of Sister Pie: Recipes and Story of a Bakery with a Big Heart in Detroit by Lisa Ludwinski, copyright (c) 2018. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Bake these hot butter rum shortbread cookies from Sister Pie’s Lisa Ludwinski of Detroit


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