Sorority Shortbread

Boston University had sorority recruitment this weekend, so I joined some other Delta Delta Delta alumnae and helped out behind the scenes. Recruitment is a long, arduous 72 hours (my sophomore year I found myself electrocuted and dangling from pipe and drape) so I brought the girls a delta-themed treat: pearl, pine, and pansy shortbread.

Cutting out the shapes. The pearl was easy, for obvious reasons, the pine was a go-to in my cookie cutter set anyway, but the pansy presented problems. This was the closest I could find. No, it doesn't really look like a pansy. At all.

Ready to go in the oven. I put the cut-out dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking them to keep the edges sharp. As with my previous shortbread, I used Ina Garten's recipe, except I doubled the salt and only baked them for about 15 minutes (instead of 20-25... too much!).

Hot out of the oven! You might be wondering about the shapes. The pearl is the symbol of new members, the pine tree is the symbol of collegiate members, and the pansy is the symbol of alumnae members. There are reasons for all of those, but they might be secret, so I won't post them here. Since new, collegiate, and alumni members are all involved in the hell that is sorority recruitment, using the three symbols seemed apropos.

I made royal icing to decorate them. I used lemon extract, but you can use any extract you want as flavoring. Some people use white food coloring to keep a true white, but I didn't have any problems with the pearls.

Icing the pines. It's easiest to outline the cookie first and then fill it in so the edges stay neat. Tip: while the remainder of your icing is waiting to be used, place a damp towel over the bowl so it doesn't dry out.

All sprinkled up. In case you're wondering, I used my new Kuhn Rikon decorating set to ice the cookies. Thank you Mom and Dad for yet another kitchen tool Christmas gift!

Okay, pansies aren't this color. But they're not this shape either, so what the hell. Tri Delta's colors are silver, gold, and blue, so I needed to incorporate blue somehow. (The yellow sprinkles on the pearls are standing in for gold.)

All packaged up and ready for recruitment. And now, after hearing about 250 rounds of "Gotta D-E-L-T-A" sung at top volume, I'm ready to wait another year before creating more Tri Delta desserts.


  1. These look great. I'd prefer them without icing myself, but I realize that you needed the colors for the theme. Glad your icing kit came in handy.


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