Brittany Frick’s Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Birdhouses. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)
While some of the Food section’s cookie projects in the annual Holiday Cookies editions have been more challenging to re-create than others, that’s not the case this year.
Brittany Frick, chef de cuisine at Doi Moi in the District, signed on for project with goals in mind: charming, delicious, simple. We think she scored a hat trick. Her small Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread Birdhouses can be accomplished with one baking session, two cookie cutters, royal icing, sanding sugar and string. The recipe makes three houses, plus extras.
Here’s how she put them together:
The cookie cutters: a 2 1/2-inch square cutter with a plain-edge side and fluted side; one round 1 1/4-inch cutter. (photos by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post) The recipe makes enough for three small birdhouses, plus some extras for decorating and snacking. Alternate flavors, if you like. (Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post) Use a straw to create a midpoint hole on one side of each fluted (roof) cookie before baking. Decorate the cookies before you build. To create the bird shapes, pinch opposite sides of some round cookies (before baking). An even simpler way to decorate the roof cookies: Smear with royal icing, then dip in sanding sugar. At least 6 round cookies are needed for birdhouse construction; decorate the side that will be facing out. Decorate the bird cookies with royal icing and sanding sugar, as you like. Pipe a bit of royal icing between each layer of the four square cookies; this makes the birdhouse base. Pipe icing at the midpoint on two opposite sides atop each birdhouse base, then... ...quickly place a round cookie on each one, with decorated sides facing outward. Place the holed sides of two decorated roof cookies close together, then use string to tie them together. Carefully rest the roof on the round cookies, letting the roof cookies overhang a bit at the ends, to suggest eaves. Almost done: Use a little royal icing to position the birds on or atop the houses. Decorate each house a little differently, to make a nice grouping. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days; the rice flour in the dough helps shortbread stay tender.