Shortbread Cookies — The New Girl

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I'm the new girl. As a Food Network assistant and wannabe chef, I'm just starting to find my way around the kitchen. This is what I've learned so far.

1) Success not only takes hard work, but patience and time as well.

2) Graduating college didn't immediately launch me to Barefoot Contessa status.

I've finally accepted that it is okay to be new. However daunting it may seem, I have to start somewhere — in work, in the kitchen, in the inescapable "real world."

When I need inspiration, I think back to where my interest in cooking began. Unbeknownst to her, Ina Garten has had a great influence in my life. Watching the Barefoot Contessa in between classes at school helped me to discover my passion for food.

This past weekend my boyfriend and I escaped the city for a relaxing visit with his parents. I wanted to bring something simple, sweet and transportable, so I thought to myself, "What would Ina do?" My answer: shortbread cookies.

Do shortbread cookies get the credit they deserve? No. They are not oozing with chocolate or covered in frosting, but the beauty is in their simplicity. Decadently buttery, sprinkled with sugar and dipped in chocolate, these cookies have a sweet, satisfying crunch that is hard to resist.

Here are a few things to consider about the recipe:

- With a 30-minute chill time, this recipe is a bit time consuming. Don't sweat it, though — the directions and techniques are basic and easy to follow (I made these one night when I had time to really enjoy the process).

- You can use a hand mixer, but be prepared to knead a little with your hands to help the dough form.

- If you only want a dozen or so cookies, freeze half of the dough to enjoy another day.

- To keep the cookies pretty after dipping, allow chocolate to cool completely before plating.

- Enjoy the cookies with a glass of milk (yes, it's okay to feel like a kid every now and again).

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