Red Velvet Benne Shortbreads

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. 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.)
  6. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.



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