Toasted white sesame seeds or sparkling sugar can be used in place of benne.
Red Velvet Benne Shortbreads
Makes About 24
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons red food coloring
- ⅓ cup benne seeds
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt with a mixer at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Beat in extracts. Gradually add flour, beating until combined.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide dough in half. Return one dough portion to mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and food coloring. Beat on low speed just until combined.
- Roll plain dough portion into a ½-inch-thick square. Place red dough on top. Fold together a few times and press flat. Cut dough in half and stack on top of each other. Fold together a few more times or until doughs are just marbled together. Cut in half. Shape each dough portion into a 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place benne seeds in a shallow dish. Brush each log lightly with egg white and roll in benne seeds to fully coat. Cut logs into ½-inch-thick slices, and place on prepared pans. (Bake in batches, if necessary. Refrigerate uncut logs until ready to slice and bake.)
- Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.