When I lived in England, I’d get up every Saturday morning and walk to the local grocery store just to see what baked goods they had on hand. I’m not saying I have a sweet tooth, but for me, moving to a new country quickly equated itself to new taste-ventures in Candyland. Shortbread is a classic UK “biscuit” that gets its name from the crumbly texture produced by the enriched butter content of the cookie. Not gonna lie, it never fails to induce a What About Bob-style yum of appreciation. I can’t say that I had ever heard of Shortbread before I moved to Europe, but after one taste, I was hooked. It’s been many years since I lived in Europe, and yet I still miss the punch of vanilla bursting from a UK treasure. This is my attempt at recreating a classic for one. For those of you who are wondering, “What in the world is vanilla paste?” Stop by my Foodtionary for a quick description. No worries if you don’t have any on hand, just substitute in vanilla for a sweeter taste.
P.S. Not sure if you noticed, but the middle picture seems to be short a cookie! What? I was hungry! May as well munch whilst you photograph your cookies. 😉
Prep Time: 15 minutes Chill Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 13-15 minutes Serving: 3 cookies
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Sugar for dusting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until velvety and soft. Then, add the salt, vanilla paste and vanilla to the butter and stir to combine. Be sure to scrape down the bowl, if needed.
2. Add the flour and mix until combined. Don’t panic if the dough looks like cornmeal. It will quickly take shape as you knead it together.
3. In order to simplify cleanup, place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on top of the counter and lightly dust with flour. Pour the dough onto the prepared paper and use the edges to help shape the dough into a ball. Flatten the dough into a small disk, wrap the foil/paper around it and place in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.
4. Whilst the dough chills, preheat the oven to 325º. Prepare a quarter sheet pan for baking.
5. Remove the dough from the freezer, lightly dust it with flour and roll it out into a rectangle (mine usually measures 6” x 4” but it’s a cookie so exactness of measurement isn’t necessary). Cut the dough into 3, equally sized cookies (again, mine usually measure 2” x 4” each) and lightly dust the top with sugar (if you happen to have vanilla sugar, I suppose you could substitute it in place of the sugar. Just saying!). Place on the prepared quarter sheet pan and bake at 325º for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.