- 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar plus extra for sprinkling on each cookie
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar.
- Add the vanilla extract to the butter and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt.
- Add the sifted ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
- On low speed, mix all ingredients until the dough begins to come together.
- Dust a flat surface with flour and dump out the dough.
- Begin rolling dough out until flat.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove from refrigerator and roll out dough until it is 1/2 inch thick.
- At this point, you can cut the dough into any shape you want.
- Place cut-out cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle each with sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Variations on Basic Shortbread
- Instead of sprinkling with granulated white sugar, use powdered sugar to dust each cookie.
- Add ingredients such as chopped pecans to the batter for a pecan shortbread cookie or orange zest for an orange flavored shortbread.
- Other extracts instead of vanilla can be substituted for a different taste. Try lemon or almond extract in your next batch of cookies.
- For a special touch, try using a jam or colorful icing to decorate the top of each cookie.
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