For Round Two of holiday baking, one type of cookie wasn’t enough. I wanted to go with a classic, but I had already done sugar cookies and gingerbread during Round One. So I turned to shortbread. Because what’s not to love about a recipe that calls for 3 sticks of butter?
These shortbread cookies come from Ina Garten, who is welcome, at any time, to come to my house and cook for me. (That’s an open invitation for you, Ina. Any time, I mean it.) They were really perfect. Really, really perfect. Ohmygod buttery, and with the perfect amount of sweet. I dipped about half of them in melted chocolate, which was good, but not necessary. On their own, they’re so… elegant. And if there’s one thing I could use, it’s a little dose of elegant.
If you want to impress anyone, make these cookies! If you want to add a little bit of loveliness to life, make these cookies! If you want to increase the size of your butt threefold, make these cookies (and then shamelessly consume nearly all of them, like I did.).
These were very easy to make. I saw some comments on the site where I got the recipe that said the dough was too crumbly and a tablespoon or two of water had to be added. I did not have this problem. I had to mix the dough about 5 seconds longer than I thought I would, but it did come together very nicely.
Shortbread Cookies (from Ina Garten)
3/4 lb. unsalted, softened butter (that’s right people, THREE STICKS OF BUTTER)
1 cup of sugar, plus a little extra, for sprinkling
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
chocolate for melting and dipping or drizzling, if feeling fancy
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the butter and one cup of the sugar, until just combined. In other words, don’t whip it up in a frenzy of KitchenAid excitement. Now add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together (true confession: I never sift. I’m a horrible person.) the flour and salt, then add it to the butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. Mix on low speed until everything just comes together. Like I said, it took a few seconds longer than I thought it would for this to happen, but it did, so be patient and don’t go adding water after 5 seconds of beating because it looks crumbly!
Form dough into a disk and then chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough to about 1/2 -inch thick. Cut out with whatever cookie cutters you’d like. I mostly used my tiny Christmas tree cutter, which yielded about 400,000 cookies. Or so it seemed. I think I got about 6 trays of cookies? They were small, though. If you’d like, before baking, sprinkle with sugar. It adds to the glamor/elegance.
Bake for 30 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Let cool and dip in/drizzle on melted chocolate, if desired.
These cookies stored well for about 5 days in cookie tins. They very well may store well longer than that, but we ate them all before I could find out!