Still working on the components for a birthday cake, I needed a plaque upon which to write the birthday wishes. I had considered doing a second batch of the chocolate sugar cookies, but I had run out of room in the refrigerator and freezer, and the dough for those required lots of room in both. Instead, I went for something I knew my mother would help me eat, so I wouldn't pack on more pounds (after having earned my 9-inch waist shrinkage this past two-year span). Needless to say, shortbread was a fine option, and very forgiving when one makes it with gluten-free flours. (I use Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour, but Bob's Red Mill also, now, has a GF 1:1 Baking Flour which has a character very much like the wheat-based AP flour)
In case you find shortbread cookies a little on the dry side (it depends upon my mood…and probably some sort of hormonal thing) you can easily frost these with your favorite frosting or icing. I topped the big cookie with my chocolate royal icing, and put the letters on it using wetted meringue powder, painted on with a brush, and then sprinkled with colored sugar.
Tender and Light Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2/3 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or your preferred GF all-purpose flour)
pinch kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325º F. (165º C.).
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or nonstick silicone sheet, ungreased.
In a medium or large mixing bowl, cream the butter (whip it up until it's light and fluffy). Continue to beat and gradually add in the confectioner's sugar, keeping it light and fluffy. At slow speed, mix in cocoa powder, flour, and salt.
When completely mixed, pat into a thick disc and wrap tightly in plastic, chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, to stiffen and temper the dough for shaping.
Remove from refrigerator, place on silicone sheet or parchment, lay a sheet of plastic over the top (it will keep the dough from sticking to fingers or rolling pin), and roll or pat dough to a minimum of 1/4 inch, or a maximum, if you're feeling wild and crazy, of 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into shapes (I like the easy solution: take a large knife and cut the cookies into bars, about 1 inch by 3 inches. But, if you're ambitious, cut them into fancier shapes with actual cookie cutters). If your cookies are on the thicker side, pierce them each a couple times with a fork.
Place about an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on rack.