Shortbread cookies are a beautiful thing. Like a pie crust, they are composed of very few, and very simple ingredients that are put together in a manner that makes you wanna just CRY.
CRY. TEARS. REAL TEARS.
I have experimented with this for a while, perfecting my own recipe. I like it when its a bit buttery and a bit salty at the same time. But the thing about shortbread is that it really isn’t a simple process, its a complicated thing. You have to be careful and:
A: Don’t overwork the batter
B: Get amounts exact
C: Chill the dough adequately
D: Pick out the right cookie cutters (okay, maybe this isn’t the most important thing…but once you’ve perfected the recipe, then that will be an issue)
Let me be your guide.
Bring together your butter and powdered sugar in perfect harmony. Why powdered instead of granular? Well, powdered sugar is easily dissolvable, which ensures a nice and smooth texture, but what powdered sugar has is corn starch. Corn starch helps to ensure that flaky texture that is a given in shortbread. But what really gives a cookie its flaky texture is that butter. A short- anything is something with bits of fat threaded all through it, when this fat comes in contact with hot air, it releases steam, which ‘leavens’ the product and gives a flaky texture that…well…is just divine.
Think biscuits…biscuits, pie crust, short cake…you know… love incarnate? The marriage proposal of the South? That happy jiggly feeling? Well, that’s the process. Anyway, once those are together, mix in your flavoring. I add in a few different extracts that makes a fairly complex and lovely flavor, they are my secret. You’ll discover that this recipe accepts a lot of different flavors just fine.
Once that is all mixed in, dump in all of your flour.
Then cut the butter and sugar mixture into the flour until it just comes together. Gather the dough up and chill it, roll it out to about 1/3″ thick (its thick, yes, but you get a flakier product that way.) Then cut out your friends and put them on a tray. I used duckies and bunnies and sheepies and eggies!
Target was on sale…I’m sorry if its no longer Easter. In my opinion, its still April, I can use as many duckies and bunnies and…oh nevermind. Once they are all baked, cool COMPLETELY and melt your chocolate.
And decorate! Have fun!
Classic Shortbread Cookies
1 C. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 C. Powdered Sugar
2 tsp. Any Extract or Flavoring (optional)
2 C. Flour
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
->Preheat oven to 325, mix together flour and salt.
1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute on medium speed. At this point, add any flavoring and mix well.
2. Pour all flour into the mixture and, using a pastry cutter or the mixture on LOW speed, mix until just combined. Gather up dough and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle a little bit of powdered sugar on a clean work surface and roll out dough to 1/3″ thickness. Cut dough using cookie cutters and lay on prepared sheet pan, about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake for 21 minutes, there will be no color change, and the cookies will give softly in the centers. Remove and allow to cool completely. Top with piped royal icing or melted chocolate or just enjoy by themselves.