CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES
These simple, classic shortbread cookies are adorable and delicious. If you make them for your family and friends, you will have a hard time keeping them in supply. If you package them up as gifts, they may stick around a while just because they are so prettily packaged, but once open – poof! gone! If you package them up prettily like these to sell at a farmer’s market, give out small samples; that’s all it will take. Pretty and yummy. No sense resisting.
Here’s the no-fail recipe. Take your time and follow the steps below in the shaping of the cookies. It’s important that they are uniform in size and thickness – this is a key to beautiful presentation, which is very important for successful cookies. You can package them up in cellophane bags, either for personal gifts or for your budding baking business. Use luggage tags for a photo of you the baker, or for your business identity. I also used a text label to tell the fun story of my company’s history, and a small round label to say what kind of cookies. The addition of the silky ribbon really creates a special, festive touch.
- 1 cup salted butter, very soft
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 2½ cups flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- If using unsalted butter, add ⅛ tsp salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together the butter and extract. In a separate bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and flour, and salt if needed. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stir just until mixed. Knead with your hands if necessary to achieve an even consistency. If the dough is very soft and sticky, refrigerate for fifteen minutes or so to firm up.
- To roll out the dough:
- Lightly flour your surface, or use waxed paper or parchment. If it’s important to you (it is to me!) that your cookies bake evenly and have a uniform look, be very careful to roll the dough to the same thickness throughout: measure with a ruler on all sides as you roll, to make sure it's ½ inch thick. This takes only a minute and really makes a difference in the look and quality of your cookies. Also make an effort to roll the dough into a rectangle; this cuts down on the re-rolls you have to do after your first cutting.
- Cut and bake the cookies:
- Using a piece of paper as a guide, and using a sharp knife, trim the top and left edge of your dough rectangle into a right angle. Then use a ruler and a toothpick to mark the dough across the top and bottom edges (both starting from the left side) in one-inch increments. Cut with a sharp knife, using the ruler to keep your lines straight. Then mark the left and right sides in one inch increments, and cut. Poke a little hole in the middle of each cookie with a toothpick. Place the cut squares ½ inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate for at least ½ hour or until firm. This helps keep their shape while baking.
- Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies become a light golden brown. Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to a wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Makes about 48 cookies, with extras.
• medium cellophane bags, 3″ x 1.75″ x 8”. Stack the cookies on the counter, then use an offset spatula to slide the stacks into the bags. Seal the bags with the tin ties provided.
• small luggage tags shape 1B, Scallop Edge style
• shape 28 label to indicate the type of cookie, Scallop Edge style
• shape 05 text label for the back, Scallop Edge style
• silky ribbon tied in a bow