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[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

At parties that signal the end of an era, you tend to celebrate in the style of the thing you're leaving. For example, I found graduation parties from college involved kegs of Keystone Light, not bottles of Cabernet. At my bachelorette party, there will be late night clubbing, not a bowl of popcorn and Netflix serene marital bliss. Baby showers seem to be the exception: you celebrate the onslaught of cute with cutsie things.

Maybe one day at my own baby shower, I'll go out to a quiet, formal, obviously not-child-friendly restaurant and follow it up with a screening of Kill Bill. Until then, I'll be the gracious guest who shows up with cookies shaped like flowers or miniatured versions of normal food.

Another great option are these shortbread cookies, which I've named Polka Dot Shortbread for hopefully obvious reasons. I love the taste: buttery with a noticeable hit of salt that makes the sweet dots of jam pop. You can use any flavor jam you like, though I recommend avoiding jelly (too stiff to pipe), chunky preserves, or anything with seeds. I chose a combination of strawberry and apricot-peach, though for a baby girl's party you could go all strawberry, or for a boy, use blueberry or blackberry preserves.

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Polka Dot Shortbread »


About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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